How to carve a pumpkin

By Ellie Reeves | 31st August 2023 | 5 min read

Pumpkin carving tips for a terror-ific display

It’s that time of the year again! Pumpkins are in abundant supply and Halloween is just around the corner. Carving a pumpkin isn’t as tricky as you might think, all it takes is a little bit of planning and preparation. Read our step-by-step guide and discover how to carve a pumpkin and create your very own jack-o'-lantern.

Ideas how to carve a pumpkinIdeas how to carve a pumpkinIdeas how to carve a pumpkinIdeas how to carve a pumpkin

Your guide to carving a pumpkin

It’s time to roll up your sleeves! Follow our advice and you’ll have a spooktacular display ready just in time for Halloween…

You will need:

Pumpkin patch

Step 1 – Choose your pumpkin

First things first, choose the perfect pumpkin for your spooky creation. If you’re planning on creating a big showstopper, then you’ll want a large pumpkin as your canvas. If you’re designing something small and simple, you can opt for a smaller pumpkin.

Do you want your pumpkin to be orange all the way over, or do you want it to have some streaks of green? Do you want it to be short and wide, or slim and tall?

You'll find plenty of pumpkins in your local supermarket, or you could even head to your nearest pumpkin patch. More and more farms are opening their doors to the public with impressive displays, hot food, entertainment – and of course the opportunity to pick your own pumpkins!

Carving a pumpkinCarving a pumpkinCarving a pumpkinCarving a pumpkin

Step 2 – Cut off the top and remove all the insides

Now that you’ve chosen your pumpkin, use a serrated knife to cut off the crown. Scoop the insides out with a large spoon, or with your hands if you don’t mind getting a bit messy! Keep a big bowl within arm’s reach for you to empty all the pumpkin seeds and flesh into. And don’t throw it away, you can use the insides to make pumpkin soup or pumpkin pie, and you could even roast the seeds for a delicious snack.

Pumpkin templatePumpkin templatePumpkin templatePumpkin template

Step 3 – Sketch your design so you’ve got an outline to follow

Once your pumpkin is clean on the inside, now you can draw the outline of your design. Use a thin marker pen to sketch out your design. You could go for a simple jack-o-lantern face or be a bit more creative and carve a shrieking cat or creepy witch. In fact, you don’t need to go down the scary Halloween route at all. Instead of choosing something spooky, you could carve a beautiful autumnal leaf display. We suggest having a look online to get some inspiration for your pumpkin carving ideas.

Pumpkin carving how toPumpkin carving how toPumpkin carving how toPumpkin carving how to

Step 4 – Start carving!

Use a serrated knife to cut along the lines of your design. Be careful when handling the knife, make sure it is always pointing away from you and be mindful of anyone sat nearby. Carving a pumpkin takes time and patience. Keep going and ensure you follow your outline, and you’ll soon have a magnificent masterpiece.

Easy pumpkin designsEasy pumpkin designsEasy pumpkin designsEasy pumpkin designs

Step 5 – Replace the crown

Once you’ve finished carving your pumpkin and you’re happy with your design, pop a tealight inside at the base put the crown back on. Voila, you’ve created your very own jack-o-lantern!

Now you can put it just outside your front door and show off your creative skills to the neighbourhood. Plus, putting a jack-o-lantern display outside the entrance of your home is a nice way of telling trick or treaters that you’re happy for them to knock on your door on Halloween. Now you just need to get some sweets at the ready!

Pumpkin decorating

Pumpkin ideas: alternatives to carving

Don’t feel like carving your pumpkin? There are plenty of other ways of decorating pumpkins that don’t require carving, you could paint your pumpkin, decorate it with string, buttons or even felt! Or simply fill it with beautiful flowers and foliage to create a gorgeous autumn decoration for the inside or outside of your home.

Think outside the box and get creative!