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Terrific pumpkin carving ideas and patterns to help you create the coolest Halloween JackOLantern ever.

Site Index Features : Holidays : Halloween : Pumpkin Carving for Halloween

Sock monkey pumpkin carving pattern

Starry eyes pumpkin face stencil, printable at

Pumpking Carving For All The Family

To carve a cool Halloween pumpkin, you will need: Jack O'Lantern stencil

  • One or more firm ripe pumpkins with sturdy stems and solid flesh with no signs of insect damage, nicks, bruises, dents or cuts . If a pumpkin feels heavy and you hear a slushy sound it's probably overripe - choose another.
  • Pumpkim Carving Tools
  • Flameless candles or glow sticks or battery-operated mini lights or "tap" lights.
  • Felt tipped pens or thick tipped permanent marker to transfer your pattern onto the pumpkin

Preparing Your Pumpkin for Carving

  • Wash the pumpkin in clear water to remove mud or dried plant material.
  • Draw or transfer your pumpkin design to the front of your pumpkin.
  • Cut top off pumpkin and remove seeds and stringy flesh. Scrape inner surface with a large spoon.

Carving Tools

The good old fashioned pumpkin carving tradition calls for use of a large sharp knife, a smaller kitchen knife, ice pick or large nail, and large kitchen spoon. Most of the required tools can be found in your kitchen or garage as follows:

Transferring Your Design

  • There are many magazines and web sites that offer free pumpkin stencils and design templates you can download and re-size to fit your pumpkin.
  • If you have a bit of art talent or just like to wing it, you can sketch a face on the pumpkin and begin carving freestyle.
  • Kids can draw their own design onto a piece of paper, which can then be taped onto the pumpkin to transfer it by piercing with a nail, small knife or ice pick to make holes through the paper into the pumpkin skin, like a dot to dot. You can also try to copy the design onto pumpkin with a felt tip marker.

Carving The Pumpkin

  • Carve pumpkins on layers of newspaper or a plastic drop cloth, outdoors if possible or indoors on a large table.
  • Cut the top of the pumpkin open with a slight angle, going all around the top to remove the stem and the top of the pumpkin's "skull" ... using a sawing motion. Cut a small notch in the back to help you position the top on correctly after removal.
  • Scoop out the pumpkin flesh, stringy strands and seeds, then scrape down the insides to make them smooth.
  • Starting in the middle of your design, begin cutting the pumpkin design or face shapes.
  • Poke out cut pieces with your fingers, pushing from inside to outside to remove sections.
  • Add candle, light or glow stick and place your pumpkin outdoors for Halloween.

Quick Tips

  • Coat cut surfaces with petroleum jelly or spray with pumpkin preservative to delay spoilage if you want to keep your Jack O'Lantern longer than a few days.
  • Add a motion or sound activated light or noise maker to animate your pumpkin when anyone comes near.

Print and Cut Pumpkin Carving Stencil Patterns

Halloween Party Games


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Lee Hansen

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