Step 4: Gut the pumpkin!

Using a kitchen paring knife or a large pumpkin carving saw, cut the top off the pumpkin. Make sure you angle the knife towards the center of the pumpkin, so the lid won't fall in when it has been cut loose. You may also want to include a notch in the lid to make aligning it easier later on.

When the lid has been cut, it should come loose with a tug on the stem. Sometimes some gentle twisting may be required. If the stem is too short to hold, slide a knife under the lid and pry it loose. Or, cut a "finger hole" in the lid so you can pull it out.

The lids will come loose with a bunch of pumpkin guts attached. Pick off the seeds (if you're keeping them) and put them in a bowl. Then, with the same knife as before, cut off the guts until you have a nice, clean surface. Set the lid aside.

Now you're ready to hollow out the pumpkin. I usually start by reaching in and trying to break off as many sinews and tendrils as I can. Then, go in with a spoon or pumpkin scoop and go to town on that stuff. Mix it around and loosen as much of it as you can. Scoop it out with your hand into a bowl, separate out the seeds (if you're keeping them) and then toss the remaining gunk into the compost pile or garbage.

Once you have the majority of the pumpkin guts removed, you can scrape the inside walls with a spoon or scraper until they're clean. Try scraping around the circumference of the pumpkin rather than bottom-to-top, it will work better.

If the walls of your pumpkin are very thick, you'll need to thin them out with the scraper until the side that will be carved is about 3/4" thick. When you push the carving saw through to the handle, about 1/2" should be visible on the inside.

Now, go wash your hands (and the pumpkin if it's covered in guts!) - we're ready for the next step!
Great instructable! I wish I would've found it before Halloween :(
Another great place to get precision pumpkin carving stencils is at <a href="http://ultimate-pumpkin-stencils.com" rel="nofollow">http://ultimate-pumpkin-stencils.com</a>
The best way to preserve your jack-o-lanterns is to use <a href="http://www.pumpkinembalmer.com" rel="nofollow">Dr. Frybrain's Pumpkin Embalmer.</a>
Excellent instructable, thanks a ton.<br>PIKACHU!!!!<br>
hehe pickachu is my hubby &lt;3
Super cute!
Thanks for making it look easy. I cant wait for next year!
Very nice! Our favorite alien looks great. :)
Nice! So you made one of your own?
This is the first year we haven't carved a pumpkin. I was referring to E.T. as our favorite alien. You did a great job. Love the finger. lol :)
Oh, I knew what you meant, but I thought you may have made one yourself, too!<br><br>Well, next year I guess! ;)
I made a saw out of a scroll saw blade and a dowel, great tips. the right eye is completely suspended by pins (photoshopped out of course)
Nice work! Especially with the eye; very hard to do right.
&nbsp;Thanks for all these great tips!! &nbsp;Here's what I did in about 5 hours. &nbsp;This is the first pumpkin that I've actually been serious about. &nbsp;I made some saws to cut precise cuts with, and got the pattern from some World Wildlife Fund/HP partnership thing. I'm going to try to preserve it with bleach, and no vaseline. &nbsp;I think that if I put vaseline on it, it will lock the moisture in and allow the pumpkin to rot.
do you have a stencil for that?<br>
Sorry for the late reply, but here:<br><br>http://www.worldwildlife.org/sites/pumpkins/
thanks, but i found it on google right after i posted the comment :P
hey thats as good as mine lol
Very Cool.
Sweet!&nbsp; <br /> <br /> There is a product - pumpkin dunkin - that you can buy that preserves your Jacks.&nbsp; I did the vaseline trick and put mine in the fridge and they kept pretty well.&nbsp;
Yep, the vaseline does lock in the moisture, which prevents the pumpkin from wilting.&nbsp; It's very difficult to use on complex patterns, though!<br /> <br /> The bleach treatment is only necessary if you intend to keep the pumpkin fresh for more than 4-5 days.<br />
I had my last pumpkin out until February. It was still happy.
Seriously?? A real, live pumpkin? That's amazing!
here, have a picture.
Thats what mine look after a day...
this is really what very scary is :D
Well, that's more frightening than anything you could carve... How's the smell? :P
i'd guess pretty damn awful
Tiger, tiger, burning bright<br /> In the forests of the night<br /> What immortal hand or eye<br /> Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
god, i cant think what that poem is <br>I definetly should know...
&quot;Tiger, Tiger&quot; by William Blake.
I thought it was spelled &quot;tyger&quot; with a &quot;Y&quot; not an &quot;I&quot;<br><br>lol anyways coolios jack-o-lantern
That is really intricate! It's really impressive!
AWESOME!!!!<br />
Whoa, I'm not sure if you can keep it fresh that long! 20 days is a very long time. Keep it cool, and if it starts to wilt then dunk it in a bucket of water for a few hours.<br /><br />But 20 days...!<br />
I don't plan on it lasting till Halloween.&nbsp; My sister was home this weekend, that's why I did it so early.&nbsp; I live in the boondocks anyway, so nobody will see it lol.<br />
&nbsp;Oh! &nbsp;Nevermind then. &nbsp;Excellent work, BTW! &nbsp;My first pumpkin wasn't anywhere near that complicated so I'd say you've got some serious talent there!
I'm not too sure on the talent.&nbsp; Maybe patience might be a better word, but thanks anyway!<br />
Yes, a great deal of patience is definitely a requirement.&nbsp; ;)<br />
That is amazing! Simply breath-taking!<br />
Thank you!<br />
To make it easier to see the holes you can sprinkle some baby powder or flour over them and rub it in a bit.&nbsp; It will fill the holes and make them easier to pick out.<br />
That's a great tip, thanks mate! I always had a problem seeing all the holes after I had made them.
I used graphite with mine, then sharpie'd in the inbetween lines that I was going to remove.<br><br>You can see the results below:<br><br>
Nice work!

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Bio: By day, Jeff is the Jack of All Robots at Clearpath Robotics. By night, a mad scientist / hacker / artist / industrial designer wannabe!
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