Pumpkin Carving Basics

Use our carving guide to create the best (and most frightening!) pumpkins this Halloween.

What You Need:

supplies and toolsPumpkin carving

  • Fresh or carvable artificial pumpkin
  • Tracing paper
  • Tape or straight pins
  • Tools: apple corer, paring knife, grapefruit spoon, mixing spoon, crafts knife, pumpkin carving tools (including assorted saws, drills, poker, and scoop), clay tools (for engraving and cutting grooves), wood-carving set (including gouges)
  • For fresh pumpkins only: petroleum jelly, flat-edge ice cream scoop or large serving spoon


How To Make It:

Prepare Fresh Pumpkins

  1. Allow your pumpkin to come to room temperature. Draw the outline of a six-sided lid on top of the pumpkin. Then draw a notch at the back to use as a guide for replacing the lid. Make the lid large enough to let you easily clean out the pumpkin. Instead of cutting a lid, you may wish to draw a round opening on the bottom of the pumpkin. With the bottom removed, the pumpkin can sit over a candle or a light.
  2. Cut out the lid or bottom opening with a saw or a knife. To cut out a lid, carve at an angle toward the pumpkin center. This creates a ledge to support the lid. To cut out a bottom opening cut straight into the base.
  3. Clean out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Scrape the pulp from the area you plan to carve until the pumpkin wall is about 1 inch thick.

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