How to carve a pumpkin for Halloween

Published On: September 4, 20230 Comments on How to carve a pumpkin for HalloweenLast Updated: September 8, 20234.1 min read

A carved pumpkin beside front or on the stairs is a must have for Halloween. Unfortunately there is only a few pumpkins in every neighborhood that look good and only one or two that look professionally carved. You don’t have to be an artist or a professional carver to carve a perfect pumpkin for Halloween.

amazingly carved pumpkins

In this simple tutorial we’ll explain all the steps that will produce a perfect pumpkin each time. So, let’s start to carve your perfect pumpkin:

1. Choose a good pumpkin

You can’t do wonders with oddly shaped or small pumpkin. If you want a perfectly carved pumpkin you must choose perfectly shaped pumpkin. The pumpkin must be fresh with a green stem and without holes or bruises. Also, look for pumpkins with a flat bottom which are straight when you put them to the floor. The size of the pumpkin is also important because larger pumpkins are easier to carve. Pumpkins that are not fresh or oversized pumpkins are not good because they’re extremely hard to carve and they have the tendency to split when you make a larger cut.

perfect pumpkin for carving

2. Opening and cleaning the pumpkin

Before you start your masterpiece you must open and clean the pumpkin. Use a sharp knife with short blade and make a lid on your pumpkin. First use a magic marker and draw a circle around the stem. Then use a knife and small mallet or kitchen mallet for pounding meat, put a knife on the line and gently pound the handle to get the blade through. After that you should be able to follow the line all the way around to make the lid. If you get stuck simply use the mallet again and gently tap on the knife opposite of the blade. After you take the lid off use the spoon or even better an ice cream scoop to get all the pulp and seeds out of the pumpkin. That can be messy, so do it on the kitchen table where you can easily clean afterwards.

making a lid on pumpkin

3. Make a sketch

Don’t start to carve your pumpkin just yet, always first make a sketch. If you want, you can try to make a sketch on paper first. Then cut out the pattern on the paper and transfer it on the pumpkin. Many people do that but it can be very tricky to transfer the pattern from paper to the pumpkin because of the shape of the pumpkin. We advise you to make a sketch with pencil directly on the pumpkin. Use the pencil and don’t press to hard so that you can erase the parts that you don’t like. Once you’re satisfied with the sketch use the magic marker to enhance the lines. We advise you to paint the surfaces that need to be carved out. In that way you can double check your design before carving and won’t make a wrong cut.

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4. Start carving

Use the short, thin and sharp knife for carving your pumpkin. Don’t use big knives because your carving will not be precise and you can injure yourself. Make a gentle cut around each shape first. Then make another cut but press a little harder. Then use the mallet to make a hole on the edge of the shape and make one ever half an inch along the edge of the shape. Then simply and gently connect the holes and carve out the shape. Take your time and be patient. You can’ carve the shape with first cut and don’t try to to that because you’ll ruin the pumpkin or maybe even injure yourself. Making a masterpiece takes time and rushing is not an option.

carving a pumpkin

5. Lighting and making a chimney

When you’re happy with your carving masterpiece place the candle in it and put back the lid. After few minutes take off the lid and make a small hole on the place where you see a black spot. In that way the smoke and the heat can go out and you pumpkin will last much longer. If you don’t want to use a candle then you can put all sorts of battery powered lights in your pumpkin.


We hope that you’ve made your first pumpkin masterpiece with our tutorial and you’re starting with another one. As you can see, carving a perfect pumpkin is not that hard. All that you need is a sharp knife and patience. We advise you to spread some petroleum jelly around the the edges of the cuts to keep them fresh and to prevent shriveling. If this tutorial helped you to make your perfect Halloween decor with a perfectly carved pumpkin then please send us your pictures and we’ll share it on our website.

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