Introduction: Pumpkin-tastic

With three young children under 5 eager for their own pumpkin that was not as scary as the big toothy one I'd already made I was trying to find some manga inspired designs but finally settled on these.

These pumpkins were fun to make and took approximately 2 hours of scooping and carving to complete.


  • Three smaller pumpkins (otherwise start adding to that 2 hour timeline)
  • Steak knife
  • 6 inch kitchen knife (not serrated)
  • 1 large metal kitchen spoon
  • 1 chopstick
  • 1 stockpot
  • 3 images saved to camera roll on iPad


Each pumpkin starts in the normal way, use the kitchen knife to cut out a circular hole in the top of the pumpkin around the stem and remove this lid. Use the metal spoon to gouge out all the fibery flesh and seeds and discard.

Then use the metal spoon to shave the inside of the pumpkin and the lid so the thickness of the skin and flesh is about half an inch thick. This will make it easier to carve clean holes and make the glowing sections more effective.

Some people now use a marker pen or Sharpie to draw on the pattern but I like going gonzo and cutting straight in. I started with the simplest design, the friendly ghoul in the middle of the group shot.

Step 1: The Friendly Ghoul

With the kitchen knife, carve out the mouth with the tooth shape. The eyes are a bit more complex as pupils need to be defined against the shape of the eye. With the knife carve the eye outline into the skin without carving all the way through the flesh. Then carve out the crescent shapes for the eye around the pupil. With the point of the steak knife in a circular motion drill in the nostrils and then push through with the chopsticks. Finally with the end of the steak knife scrape through the skin to make the eyebrows. Mine go across the join of the body and lid so make sure they line up nicely. Clean the outside of the pumpkin with a cloth and use your finger and/or the edge of the chopstick to smooth out the interior of the cutouts. Done, ready for lighting up with a tea light.

Next up, Hello Kitty.....

Step 2: Hello Kitty

First start with the outline of the face, I began with the ears. Carve with the kitchen knife throughout the skin but not through the flesh yet. Once the outline is done carve in the whiskers in the same way. Once all is done use the chopstick to push through the flesh. You might need to use the knife to tidy up the flesh on the inside. Next cut out the eyes and nose. The bow is the trickiest bit and uses the same scraping technique used for the eyebrows on the ghoul. Carve out the outline of the bow with the steak knife and then scrape out the interior. Clean the outside of the pumpkin with a cloth and use your finger and/or the edge of the chopstick to smooth out the interior of the cutouts. Done, ready for lighting up with a tea light.

Next up, Death Star....

Step 3: Death Star

I felt a bit of trepidation about the complexity of this one as it requires more scraping than cutting. However after the previous two I felt more confidence and it's easier than you think. Also it wasn't quite going dark yet. First use the kitchen knife to put a bevel around the lid and body to form a glowing ring around the Death Star instead of the lid being a tight fit. Next use the kitchen knife to cut a v shaped ring around the middle of the pumpkin for the central track. Use the chopstick to deepen it so it will glow the most. I widened it slightly here and there to straighten it up. Obviously drawing it out with a marker pen might have made it more accurate but I pressed on. Next use the kitchen knife to carve a circle above the central ring to outline to laser circle. Once done, use the kitchen knife in a paring motion to cut out the skin. Use a technique that deepens the circle in a shallow conical shape so the flesh is thinnest in the middle. Once you are happy use a chopstick to punch a hole in the centre. The detail on the Death Star took some time but was quicker than I thought and was strangely creative. Carve and scrape the rectangular outlines in a variety of patterns through the skin. Deepen the lines a little with the chopstick. Use the point of the steak knife to twisted in the glow holes and punch each one through with the chopstick. Use the same technique on the lid and if you have the time, enough daylight and patience below the bottom ring as well. Clean the outside of the pumpkin with a cloth and use the chopstick to smooth out the interior of the lines. Done, ready for operation with a tea light.

Good luck, thanks for reading, enjoy any pumpkin by-products from the flesh you scooped out and don't forget to vote......


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