When choosing a pumpkin, look for solid, even colors like bright oranges, creamy whites, or dappled grays. Avoid pumpkins with surface rot and check for hidden soft spots. Don't forget to test the pumpkin's stem to make sure it's solidly attached.
Editor's Tip: If you're carving an intricate design, pick a pumpkin with a flat surface. Reserve particularly round pumpkins for simple designs, such as jack-o'-lantern faces.
Pumpkin carving is much easier (and more precise) with the right tools.
Poker: Use this small tool to outline patterns when carving a pumpkin. Tape a printed pattern onto a pumpkin and create small dots along the outline the pattern. Household straight pins work in a pinch, but a pumpkin poker tool is suggested.
Raker: Remove skin and smooth pumpkin flesh with a raker tool. This tool is also great for cleaning up carving areas or etching designs into the pumpkin flesh.
Shape Punchers: Make the perfect round eyes or fun facial features with metal tubes. While an apple corer will make gorgeous circles, a pumpkin carving kit can provide additional shapes.
Saws: Head to the Halloween store for a few skinny, serrated pumpkin carving knives which are perfect for tight designs. For adults, a small etching power tool will save time, energy, and stress for carving intricate designs.
Pumpkin Scooper: Many Halloween shops will have variations of the perfect pumpkin scoop tool, but this Monster Scoop uses serrated edges to scrap and clean pumpkins' insides, while a pointed tip can flatten a spot for a candle.
Get free patterns from our Halloween how-to slideshows. For those who enjoy a traditional jack-o'-lantern funny or scary face, add eyebrows for extra expression. If you've got a furry friend at home, browse our collection of cat and dog pumpkin patterns. From classic to quirky, our collection of free downloadable pumpkin carving ideas is sure to suit your Halloween needs.
Try these fun tips and tricks for how to decorate for Halloween. Use pumpkins to inspire your Halloween ideas, decorations, and designs.
- Carve a full jack-o'-lantern head into your jack-o'-lantern for a fun play on Halloween's favorite activity.
- For an eerie display, carve a haunting phrase like "BOO!" into a series of pumpkins.
- Create a festive centerpiece by using a hollowed-out pumpkin as a flower vase.
- Skip the carving and opt for paint or ribbon for a picture-perfect, nontraditional pumpkin display.
- For long-lasting indoor pumpkin decorations, consider getting a synthetic carvable pumpkin, commonly called a Funkin.
Halloween Props How-to Tip: Give recycled wine bottles a haunting glow with new illuminated bottle toppers that will put fright in the night.