Pumpkin Carving

A Guide to Carving the Perfect Pumpkin for Halloween.

Step 1: Getting the Perfect Pumpkin

The first step to carving a pumpkin is picking out the perfect pumpkin to carve. Choose a good medium-sized pumpkin and make sure it has at least one good face on it, free of dirt, deep crevices, and growths, all of which will make it harder to carve. The good side of the pumpkin will be where you carve your pattern.

Step 2: Supplies

You will need:

1. One or two plastic bags/garbage bags

2. Multiple carving tools

  • 1, 2 - scooping tools
  • 3, 4 - poking tools with multiple spikes
  • 5, 6 - singular poking tools
  • 7 - scraper/peeler
  • 8 - small blade
  • 9 - medium blade
  • 10 - large blade
  • 11 - extra large blade

3. Your design/pattern of your choosing

4. Newspaper

5. Scotch tape

6. Scissors

7. Black marker

Step 3: Choosing Your Pattern

Next, you will need to choose a pattern that you will be transferring to the pumpkin and carving. This pattern can be your own free-hand pattern, a pattern pulled off the internet, or one already prepared for you in a pumpkin carving kit which includes carving tools (as seen in the picture).

Step 4: Pattern Preparation

After choosing your pattern, if not done already, you will need to cut each corner towards the center, going about 2 inches in depending on the size of your pattern. As you can see I drew dotted lines to help, but that is not required. The cutting of these corners will allow you to neatly fold and tape the pattern on your pumpkin so that it lays nicely on a round surface.

Step 5: Placing the Pattern on the Pumpkin

Once you have cut the corners of your pattern, you will place it on your pumpkin, taping the top and bottom so that it stays in the place. You will then fold the cut corners under each other so that the pattern lays flat on the round surface and tape each corner down. As you can see in my picture, it is not completely flat but try to get most of the pattern as flat as you can.

Step 6: Marking & Cutting

Next, you will take your black marker and draw a circle around the stem of the pumpkin (I like to do this step after placing the pattern on the pumpkin to know exactly where my pattern ends in regards to the top). Taking the extra large blade, cut along the circle you drew until the stem and top of the pumpkin come off. This will be where you access the inside of the pumpkin.

Step 7: Hollowing the Pumpkin

After pulling the top of the pumpkin off by the stem, take one of the scooping tools and begin to clean out the inside of the pumpkin. This will involve some scraping to make sure you fully clean out the seeds and guts to achieve a hollowed out pumpkin. Taking the guts by the scoopful, place them in the plastic bag/garbage bag.

Step 8: Tracing Your Design

Once you have hollowed out the pumpkin, you are ready to trace your design. Take one of the poking tools, the singular one if you want to poke each individual hole, or the multiple spoke one if you want to poke holes in a continuous motion (I used the singular poker to have more precise tracing). With the poker, poke holes along the black parts of your pattern. Choosing what you want to trace is up to you, but you need to make sure the item you are tracing will allow your pumpkin pattern to stay intact.

Step 9: Carving the Pattern

Once you have fully completed tracing your pattern onto your pumpkin by a poker, take the actual pattern off of your pumpkin. You will see your pattern has been transferred to your pumpkin by tiny little holes from the poker. These holes are your guide for carving the pattern out of the pumpkin. Take either the small or medium blades and begin to cut along these dotted lines. Once you have cut each part of your pattern of the pumpkin, make sure you can fully see through each hole in the pumpkin. If any hole is blocked for any reason, try cleaning the holes up around their edges so that you can see light coming through each hole (as seen in the picture).

Step 10: Candle Ready

The point of carving a pumpkin is to make your pattern shine at night with the use of a candle or other source of light. Therefore, once you have finished carving, place a candle or light inside of the pumpkin for lighting at night.

Step 11: Decorate

Lastly, place your carved pumpkin out on your porch to decorate for Halloween. Allow others to see the pattern of your pumpkin by lighting the candle or light inside to make your pattern glow the night of Halloween.

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