How to Carve a Pumpkin for Halloween?

Halloween is right around the corner and like everyone you’re all excited about it. It’s a fun festival and once you also enjoyed the thrill of getting jumped on the night going door to door for those big treats.

But now you’re on the other side of the door where you’re waiting to give away all those candies to those costumed kids and teenagers.

So, you’re Halloween is a little bit different. Instead of getting ready to trick or treating, you are busily decorating the house to scare the life out of those little rugrats knocking on the door hoping to get some sweet treats.

And while we’re on the subject of decorating for the festival, you can’t resist buying the biggest pumpkin in the store and carve something spooky to use it as a lantern. 

However, you’re not sure how to carve a pumpkin for Halloween and its eating you inside not being able to have a carved pumpkin decoration in the house.

If that’s the case, don’t worry as I will show how to decorate the pumpkin.

Carving Pumpkin for Halloween

Honestly, the task at hand of carving a pumpkin isn’t that difficult. However, before getting on cutting the thing, you have to prepare for the job to get it done with perfection.

And here we will talk about some of those aspects that you need to take care of before heading with decorating of the pumpkin.


Choose a long-lasting pumpkin

The first order of business is to go to the farmers market or the superstore in your neighborhood and find a pumpkin. Now, it doesn’t seem like a job that comes with any difficulty. And that’s where many of you make a mistake as you go and buy the first pumpkin you see.

But you have to give more thought to it as the pumpkin will go bad after a couple of days. So, you need to watch out and pick a pumpkin that will keep its integrity until Halloween gets over.

Space for the carving

Carving the pumpkin is a job that will make a lot of mess. So, picking a space for it crucial as you don’t want to do it in a place where it would leave its mark even you clean after it.

Now, you will love to perform the task in your kitchen countertop as it gives you the space to move around and keep the tools around for the job. 

However, doing it outdoors on a study ground seems like a better option as the hassle of cleaning after it would be less tedious and faster.

And if you’re planning to work on the kitchen counter top or the table, lay some grocery bags or tissue papers on the place to keep things tidy.

Tools you need

It’s not a rocket since, but a little bit tricky of course. If you are having proper tools and arrangement, you will make t done with a small time.

  1. At first a proper pumpkin off course.
  2. A Permanent marker to draw.
  3. Kitchen towel or napkin.
  4. Paper or grocery bags.
  5. Carving kits like knives, scraper, ladle, serrated knife wire tools etc.
  6. Candle, extend lighter to light.

Draw the design on the pumpkin

Choose the best side of your pumpkin to draw the design. If you already determined the side, use a permanent marker and start drawing.

First draw eyes, then nose and lastly the mouth and teeth. Make it horrible as you can; it’s the real fun with Halloween lantern.


Cut the lid first

Following the drawing outline of the lid, run the knife slowly and smartly. Use a sharp and slim carving or serrated knife for this task.

To make the lid fit without falling in, cut the lid of your pumpkin at 45-degree inward angle.

Separate the lid

Hold the calyx of the pumpkin, run it around and cut the lid according to the line. Don’t scratch strongly, insert the knife into the pumpkin and slowly separate the lid from the body.

Remove seeds of the pumpkin

Remove all the seeds with your hand. Seeds are attached with pumpkin by thin strings and it’s easy to remove. Don’t throw them away; it is tasty as roasted. Keep them in a bowl to be cleaned up later.

Start cooping the inside of the pumpkin

Now, start scooping the pumpkin and remove the guts with a scooper, metal spoon, ladle or a scraper.  Transfer the guts to a bowl that you can use it for preparing any dish.

Maybe it will a little bit uphill, but using proper tools can make it easy for you.


Wipe with kitchen tissue

After removing the meat part of the pumpkin using a kitchen tissue or towel to clean it up. It will make your cutting procedure batter and safer. Otherwise, there have a chance to skip your carving knife.

Cut the design according to draw line

Clean up the edges of cutting: Yeah, you are done with cutting design, but rest is finishing. It’s time to clean up the edges of your cutting line to make it more detailed and more precise to look.

Go back to first and retouch the design with an extra sharp knife or use wire tool from your toolbox.

Halloween Pumpkin

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Finally light it up

After making the whole process done, its time to light it up. Insert a tea light candle at the bottom of the made pumpkin, or other you have to light. Lid off the pumpkin and use a extend lighter to light it up. It is also tricky but try twice or thrice to make it done.

3 Key Tools of Making Halloween Pumpkin

1. Powerful 12 PCS Most Useful Carving Essentials:

You can use your regular kitchen tools for this task. But there are Professional Pumpkin Carving Tools Kit Knife Set out there that makes the job much easier.

And we’ve got something special in mind that can help you with the task. It’s the Powerful 12 PCS Most Useful Carving Essentials.

From opening up the top to carve and sketch on the pumpkin, the toolkit offers every piece of equipment for the job.


  • 12 pieces of high quality professional stainless-steel pumpkin carving tool kit including three carving tools for kids.
  • The tools come inside a sturdy premium nylon organizer case.
  • The kit includes: 5 pumpkin carvers, three professional detail carving tools, one pen, one bag, a carving pattern stencils and three kid tools.
  • It comes with a refund and replacement offer.

Carving with Powerful 12 PCS Tools:

For starter, to open the top of the pumpkin, you can use the serrated knives that come with the set.

As you’re planning to make a Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin, you should first draw a design on the pumpkin using the marker pen the set offers.

Now, once you’ve cut open the top, it is time to clean the inside of the thing. Just take the spoon and remove the pulp and seeds inside the pumpkin with it.

Make sure you get the inside absolutely smooth all around. Otherwise, scrapping and sculpting the outer layer would be much more difficult.

Here comes the part where you need to choose a design that you will carve on the pumpkin. And the best way to do that is to draw the silhouette on a piece of paper first.

Then use the pen and draw your design on the pumpkin. You do not need to make a face; you can create abstract designs, animals, cartoon characters or whatever you wish to carve on it.

Now, transferring the design to the pumpkin can be a little bit tricky. You need to be precise and can’t make mistakes. 

Therefore, hold the paper on top of the pumpkin with a hand or can use some help if you find. You can use any of the sharp curving pens, or if you prefer the marker, you can use that too.

However, sharp outlines will make the next step slightly easier when you are cutting the pumpkin.

Now use the outline that you’ve marked and cut the pumpkin according to it. Start cutting along the lines and using any of three sharped stainless carving tools.

If you’re using a fresh pumpkin, then it will be an easy task. However, while carving your way through the pattern, make sure you cut in small sections and take your time.

Another advantage of cutting small pieces is that you can remove them from the inside without problems. When you finish cutting all the parts, push them with your finger to make them fall.

When your Jack O’Lanterns is entirely ready, cover the cut surfaces with Vaseline. It is something you shouldn’t skip if you don’t want your pumpkin to turn brown rotting.

If the pumpkin wrinkles dunk it into a bucket of fresh water and it will look fresh. Also, you can store it into freeze.This powerful kit is our favorite because it provides a lot of tools and not just for adults.

It comes with three pumpkin carving tools for kids. So, now kids can also join in the activity while being supervised by their parents.

2. Victorinox 4 Inch Swiss Classic Paring Knife:

The curving tool from Powerful is exceptional, but you can do all these things with a knife. However, not all blades will be able to provide the same level of performance and precision as the Powerful kit.

But the Victorinox 4 Inch Swiss Classic Paring Knife with Serrated Edge is something you can certainly use for carving the pumpkin.

And you can put your trust on the brand as the Swiss knives are crafted for especially for professionals.


  • The paring knife with its serrated blade is perfect for garnishing, mincing, peeling, slicing or dicing.
  • The ergonomic Swiss Classic handle inspired by the patented Fibrox Pro line provides a sure grip and easy handling even with wet hands.
  • Short blade to enhance control and precision.
  • Serrated edge perfect for working with soft-skinned fruits and vegetables as it doesn’t squash them.
  • It has a lifetime warranty on the materials.

Carving With Victorinox 4 Inch Knife:

As the name says, it has a serrated edge which makes cutting through pumpkins quite an easy task. But the exact reason, it is better than the usual knife you’ve got in the kitchen is because it’s versatile.

It is a short blade knife and its designed this way to provide exceptional control. Therefore, while carving with it spear point edge, you will be able to get the accuracy and precision that requires for the job. 

Also, it offers exceptional grip which also helps with the task. And besides being used for this particular job, you can also use it for regular slicing and mincing in the kitchen which makes it a good all-rounder tool.

But if you’re planning to carve with your kids, the Professional Pumpkin Carving Tools Kit Knife Set is the obvious choice.

3. Brizled LED Halloween String Lights:

You’ve curved the pumpkin to perfection, but it’s not over yet. It’s now time to light the thing to bring Jack-O-Lantern to life. To do that you’ve got many options.

You can go with the classic candles lantern but to make it more dramatic and attractive, we prefer the Brizled Halloween Lights.

These little LED orange lights will light up your decorative piece to life and make it stunning without any doubt.


  • The energy-saving LED lights will save up to 80% energy compared to other brands light.
  • A set includes 100 mini LED bulbs.
  • The bulbs got 20,000 hours bulb life.
  • The Brizled Halloween lights are an eco-friendly LED light source.
  • Perfect for decorating both indoors and outdoors.

Lighting with Brizled LED Halloween String Lights:

You will get 200 mini LED lights. So, put the lights inside your Halloween pumpkin and put some around it to make it more dramatic. We prefer this over candles for many reasons.

It is less likely to cause accidents especially while children being around running. But the real reason is that it’s much more festive while requires a very little budget.

These eco-friendly mini LED lights offers 20,000 hours of bulb life so you can use them even for other occasions too. And it provides exceptional quality, so its great value for the money.

How to Preserve the Pumpkin

You’ve made your dream come true. You’ve got yourself a curved pumpkin ready for this years Halloween.

However, in the back of your head, you’re still not sure whether it would remain the same till 31st of October. And to be honest, you can’t get any guarantee.

But you can do your part to keep the thing from getting rotten. And here we’ve got some helpful tips for you to preserve the pumpkin for the festival.

  • We’ve already told this, but if you’ve missed it for some reason then take note again. To avoid the rotting, you should use petroleum jelly inside the pumpkin and as well as apply it on the carved areas of the pumpkin. The reason for doing so is to provide a layer of moisture to the pumpkin as pumpkin rots due to mainly from dehydration.
  • If you don’t have petroleum jelly, you can use bleach too. Just mix the bleach with water to create the perfect mixture. Now, put the mix into a spray bottle. Spray it daily to keep the pumpkin from getting molds. Meanwhile, the water helps it to avoid getting dry.
  • It might seem like a lot of work after carving the damn pumpkin and now create mixtures to preserve it. So, if you don’t want to do all these things then merely go to the store and buy preservative sprays. But make sure to avoid toxic elements in the spray.
  • Pumpkin will rot after some time, and you can’t stop it. So, the best way to preserve the thing is to buy it a couple of days earlier and then carve it. However, at this time of the year, it might be hard to find pumpkins at the last possible second. So, it is better to buy early and freeze it. And only take it out a day or two before Halloween and then carve it. This way you have to do less work trying to preserve the pumpkin.
  • If you put the pumpkin under direct sunlight, then it will rot faster than you can imagine. So, it is better to find a cold place for it away from the sun. This way you will be able to preserve the pumpkin for 4-5 days with ease before carving it for the big day.
  • After some time the pumpkin will start to dry out. In that case, submerge it in water for a night. However, you need to wipe off excess water from the pumpkin.
  • Rubbing alcohol is an excellent preservative for uncarved pumpkin. Just take a couple of drops of alcohol to a towel and use it to rub the exterior of the pumpkin. It will help the pumpkin avoid getting molds.

Where This Pumpkin Carving Tradition Came From?

Many people believe this tradition originated in the USA. But the reality is the Irish immigrants brought this tradition. Irish people have been carving pumpkins and turning it to lanterns from the 19th century.

They believe pumpkin to be the fruit of good fortune that witches used for sorcery.

While other believe this tradition arises because they wanted to light the way to their homes for good spirits.  So they cut faces on vegetables like turnips and pumpkins.

Thus, the true originator of the Jack O’Lanterns is the Irish. So why it is called Jack O’Lanterns. There is a legend about a farmer named Jack who made a deal with the devil that left him wandering the earth forever.

When the immigrants arrived in the United States and found an abundance of pumpkins, they soon adopted the pumpkin as the best fruit to carve the face of Jack O’Lanterns which eventually became a significant part of American culture for more than two centuries.

Carve a pumpkin for Halloween

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By now, you should probably have learned how to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. It sounds like a difficult job, but if you put your mind to it and have the right tools at your disposal, it isn’t that hard, to be honest.

Also, we hope we have educated you more about the festival. We can only hope that you will able to follow the tricks and tips to get yourself a nicely carved Jack O’Lanterns or whatever you wish to have carved in the pumpkin.

Just don’t forget to share some photos with us as we will love to see how it turned out.

Team Chooserly

A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!

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