How to carve a pumpkin: Pumpkin design ideas, carving tips and why we carve pumpkins explained

With Halloween fast approaching, we share the latest tips and tricks on to how carve a spooky pumpkin lantern.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 5:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 9:40 am

Halloween and pumpkins go hand in hand, but carving them isn't always as easy as we expect it to be.

To help make the best pumpkin for your Halloween party, we've put together some top tips below.

How to carve a pumpkin

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Owls are a popular design idea for a Halloween pumpkin.

1. Choose a fresh pumpkin

You want your pumpkin to last as long as possible and also be sturdy when you start carving.

Choose one that is fresh, not soft and doesn't have any bruises.

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2. Cut the opening from the bottom - not the top

A very unconventional tip is to cut the opening from the bottom of the pumpkin!

This apparently prevents the pumpkin sides from caving in when carving, it can also help stop your fingers getting burnt when putting the tealight candle in.

3. Scoop out all of the insides

You don't want a rotten pumpkin, it's important to scoop out all of the pulp.

Some people use an ice cream scoop, others use a special pumpkin scoop.

The more you remove, the longer your pumpkin will stay fresh.

4. Carve on a steady even surface and in a well-lit area

To protect yourself when carving, it's important to do so on an even surface and in a well-lit area.

5. Sketch or draw out your design first

You can use a marker pen to draw designs directly on the pumpkin and then cave.

But a better way drawing a design on a piece of paper to use as a stencil. You can then tape the design onto your pumpkin and use a fork to poke the design into your pumpkin.

This can be your guide for when you start to carve.

6. Paint your pumpkin

A great activity for children who are too young to carve a pumpkin, would be pumpkin painting.

Pumpkin carving design ideas 2021

There's lots of creative ideas for your pumpkin this Halloween from Harry Potter themed pumpkins to spooky vampires.

A top tip for creating specific designs is using cookie cutters - you can use them to add animals, shapes, letters or numbers.

Disney designs are also always a firm favourite or you could even use a few pumpkins to spell out spooky phrases at your front door.

Why do we carve pumpkins for Halloween?

The tradition for carving spooky faces into vegetables comes from the Irish myth of 'Stingy Jack.'

The myth goes that Stingy Jack met the Devil in a bar and tricked him to pay for his drinks.

When Jack died the Devil wouldn't let Jack into hell and God wouldn't accept Jack into heaven, so he was left to wander the earth.

To scare away Jack's wandering soul, the story goes that people started to carve scary faces onto turnips and potatoes - this is how they got the name Jack-O-Lanterns.

When Irish people moved to America, they brought the tradition with them, and swapped turnips for pumpkins, the holiday took off and the tradition of pumpkin carving is now practised all around the world.

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