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How to carve a Halloween pumpkin

How to carve a Halloween pumpkin

Halloween’s here and it’s time to carve your Halloween pumpkin! Check out my tips, including a surprising one about cutting the hole.

Have you visited a pumpkin patch or been to a themed event? Pinterest is full of spectacular ideas for carving amazing looking Jack o’ Lanterns. Most of us probably don’t have mad carving skills but it is pretty easy to create a simple design.

There is a lot of history behind Halloween – it comes from Pagan times where it is known as Samhain. Pagans believed it was the time when ghosts and spirits came back to earth, and the Celts would appease the spirits by giving them treats. 

pumkins, jack-o-lantern, halloween

The steps to carving a Halloween pumpkin

Time needed: 1 hour.

The steps to carving the perfect Halloween pumpkin

  1. Choose a decent pumpkin

    This should be a medium-sized firm one. You’ll find so many different colours and varieties. From my experience, the orange ones seem to be easier to scoop out and carve. The green and white ones can be a bit tougher. Small gourds and squashes make great decor and can be painted.

  2. Cut a hole from underneath the pumpkin, not the top.

    This is a mistake that I have made in the past. Cutting a lid at the top really doesn’t work well, the lid tends to shrink and then falls inside the pumpkin. If you cut from the bottom you can then use this to put the tea light candle in.

  3. Start scooping.

    Messy and gooey but great fun! Get the kids to help. We tend to try and get the main bulk out with our hands, but spoons and ice cream scoops work well. Once you have got all the seeds and pulp out, try and scrape some of the flesh out too.

  4. Decide on a design.

    Some like to print out a template first or make a stencil, we tend to draw our design on with a pen.

  5. Start carving.

    Use a sharp, serrated kitchen knife, poke a hole in the area you wish to start at and start roughly cutting, you can neaten it all up later.

  6. Finalise your jack-o-lantern face/design

    Once the main areas have been cut, then go around the edges to make them tidier. You can also do things like make them jagged, do small slits or experiment in other ways. Did your knife slip? No problem! Don’t get hung up on making the ‘perfect’ Halloween pumpkin. Just incorporate any ‘mistakes’ in to the final design. It doesn’t even have to be a face. As long as there are holes in the flesh of the pumpkin, you’ll get a nice look when it’s illuminated.

  7. Keep it fresh.

    Pumpkins can start to go off very quickly, we have ended up with a puddle of pumpkin juice on our window sill! We have been told to use Vaseline on the edges to help keep the moisture in.

  8. Light up.

    Get a tea light or even better a battery-operated tea light, and enjoy your creation.

pumpkins, jack-o-lantern, halloween

What to do with the inside of pumpkins after carving

Remember, there is no need to waste the insides. You can toast the seeds in the oven with some salt and pepper and the flesh can be used in soups and pies. Check out our list of healthy pumpkin recipes plus soups, savoury pumpkin dishes and desserts.

Once you have finished with your pumpkins, put them with your compost or take them to the woods – little animals will happily eat them up.

Happy Halloween, enjoy yourselves!

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About Sarah Stockley

Sarah is mum to three children and a plethora of animals (mostly cats) and lives in Surrey. You'll often find her family exploring the great outdoors, foraging in the woods, camping and visiting festivals. Sarah also loves to upcycle things and will happily turn an old pallet into a rustic shabby chic sign. She studied Art and Design at college and when she's not blogging at Kippers and Curtains she also likes to make bohemian style dreamcatchers. This mum is also never far from her camera - much to the annoyance of her children.