Introduction: How to Carve a Jack-o-lantern

Picture of How to Carve a Jack-o-lantern

To carve a Jack-o-Lantern you will need the following materials
1 Pumpkin
1 Medium Serving Spoon
1 Medium Knife
1 Small Knife
Medium bowl
1 Dry Erase Marker
1 Candle
1 lighter

Step 1: Preparing for Carving

Picture of Preparing for Carving

Cover your working surface with the newspaper.

Step 2: Cutting Out the Stem

Picture of Cutting Out the Stem

Cut a hole around the stem at about a 45 degree angle towards the center of the pumpkin big enough for your hand to fit through.

WARNING-If the cut isn't at an angle the stem will fall into the pumpkin.
WARNING-Save the stem

Step 3: Scooping Out the Pumpkin

Picture of Scooping Out the Pumpkin

Using the medium serving spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp (the orange stringy material inside the pumpkin) and put it in the bowl

Step 4: Sketching the Face

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On roundest or best looking side, Sketch the desired face or design of your Jack-o-lantern.

Step 5: Carving the Pumpkin

Picture of Carving the Pumpkin

Using the small knife, cut at a perpendicular angle along chosen design. Remove loose pieces of the pumpkin and discard them in to the medium bowl.

Note-Wipe off the extra dry erase markings when finished cutting out the design.

Step 6: Lighting the Pumpkin

Picture of Lighting the Pumpkin

Light the candle with the lighter and place inside the Jack-o-lantern. Put the stem back on.

Step 7: Displaying the Jack-o-lantern

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Place the pumpkin where desired


JoaquinM6 (author)2015-09-29

how much time odes the pumpkig has before it dries out and gets puffy?

kdemenz (author)2014-10-30

Great straight forward guide. Here's Dr. Demenz's jack o'lantern for 2014.

lilamp (author)2013-10-29

Kiteman if you don't mind me bothering you what if it was a bit windy? Would the light just blow out? And do you have to put a candle in? Thanks!

lilamp (author)2013-10-29

Kiteman if you don't mind me bothering you what if it was a bit windy? Would the light just blow out? And do you have to put a candle in? Thanks!

lilamp (author)2013-10-29

Thanks Kiteman,
That is great advice!

Kiteman (author)2007-10-25
A classic Make, well-described.

A couple of safety points from personal experience -

  • The lid can get very hot, mind your fingers.
  • Blow the candle out, or let it go out by itself - dripping water through the lid into a molten tea-light causes a similar response to water into a chip-pan fire. Kitewife was lucky to just lose her fringe.
repguy2020 (author)Kiteman2012-10-29

Sounds like a harrowing ordeal! Hope she's well.

Kiteman (author)repguy20202012-10-29

She was lucky, just a little burned hair.

JakeTobak (author)2007-10-24

I got a couple things to add that I've done in the past. 1.) If the light is strong enough you can use wood carving tools to scrape away at the skin of the pumpkin so it's not cut through but light still gets out a bit, kind of like putting a flash light inside your mouth and your cheeks glow. That way you can have a 2-tone design. 2.) I used an anti-fungal spray to prevent stuff from growing inside the pumpkin, preserving it a little longer. I used some jock-itch spray (was using it for my feet before) and I think it worked well. Just be careful if its combustible and you're using a candle.

kendrickbooker (author)JakeTobak2010-10-28

cool boy

dontno (author)2008-04-04

I use a saber saw to carve out pumpkins cuts down on carving time. Done in10 minutes.

ThaNorwegianDude (author)dontno2009-10-21

yeah... but isnt that taking away the point? i mean half the fun is to carve the thing out

Revel (author)2009-09-24

you should cut a try angle in the lid so its easy to find the way it gos in

english_sensei (author)2007-10-30

1.any tips on how to keep the lid from burning after a few hours? about making it last longer without falling apart? 3.has anyone tried drying the pumpkin out in the sun or anything else? as for no.1, initially, it seems OK, as the inside is still moist, but as it dries out, it could become dangerous. i would prefer to use a candle for maximum effect. any suggestions?

i heard rubbing a bit or vasoline into the inside, and the cut parts, helps it last a bit longer.

dontno (author)english_sensei2008-07-12

I use Chem Lights. Snap it and toss it into the pumpkin. No heat is generated.

carrierpilot1357 (author)2008-10-14

you should go look for an electric pumpkin carver. They make it a lot easier.

St0ney (author)2008-07-12

Nice Tut ! St0ney

LunaLovegood (author)2007-10-31

The Instructable would be good for beginners, but I'm sort of advanced at this so I got bored. --Luna Lovegood--

X_D_3_M_1 (author)2007-10-25

i got that lighter. for 25 cents.

snipegoat (author)2007-10-25

I always add a little rectangular nub popping off the stem when cutting out the top ,so its easier to find where to put it instead of just twisting it for an hour till it fits or just placing it lazily on top so it sticks out (it drives me crazy) you know exactly where it goes like .....stem---- ( )=

do you see what i mean.

Kiteman (author)snipegoat2007-10-25

Like a key? You could also cut the lid rectangular or triangular for the same reason.

havanacus (author)2007-10-25

I'd like to add that those seeds make a delicious baked snake with a little salt...

John Smith (author)2007-10-24

Oh, good instructable.

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