How to Carve a Pumpkin

Written by Contributor. Posted in Featured

Published on October 17, 2018 with No Comments

by The Kitchen

What You Need

1 medium-sized pumpkin (or as many as you want to carve)


• Brown paper grocery bags, newsprint, or butcher paper

• Sharpie or other permanent marker

• Pumpkin carving kit (including a scraper, carving knife, and a wire modeling tool)

• Two medium bowls (one for seeds, one for pumpkin guts)

• Kitchen towel

• Tea light candle and long match or lighter with extended nozzle


  1. Set up your workspace: Line a sturdy table with flattened grocery bags, newsprint, or butcher paper. Have your permanent marker, carving tools, and bowls nearby.
  2. Draw your design:After you’ve determined the best side of your pumpkin for a face, use the permanent marker to sketch out eyes, a nose, and a toothy grin.
  3. Draw your lid: Outline a circular lid around the pumpkin stem, about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Add a notch in the back if you like — this makes it easier to line up.
  4. Cut out the pumpkin lid: With a slim pumpkin carving knife (the carving tool with a toothed blade like a mini-saw), cut along the outline of your pumpkin lid. Make sure you slice through the pumpkin at a 45-degree inward angle, so you’ll be able to replace the lid without it falling in.
  5. Remove the pumpkin seeds:The seeds are all attached to the pumpkin and each other by thin strings. Grab the big bunches of seeds with your hands and place them in one of the bowls, to be cleaned later.
  6. Scoop out the insides of the pumpkin: Using the scraper that came with your kit (or a metal spoon if you don’t have this tool), clean out the inside of the pumpkin until no stringy bits remain. Discard the pumpkin guts in the second bowl.
  7. Wipe off the pumpkin: Use the kitchen towel to wipe off the outside of the pumpkin so that it will be easier and safer to carve.
  8. Cut out the design: Make straight cuts into your pumpkin along the lines of your design, removing the pieces and discarding them in the refuse bowl.
  9. Clean up with the wire carving tool: Go back in and scrape out any stringy pieces or jagged lines with the wire tool from your carving kit. You can also scrape off the marker lines while you’re at it, though they won’t be visible in the darkness of night.
  10. Light your pumpkin: Insert a tea light candle in the bottom of your pumpkin and place the lid on top. Use a long match or lighter, inserted through the Jack O’Lantern mouth, to light the candle.
  11. Bonus Step: Make roasted pumpkin seeds! Clean and dry the pumpkin seeds, then toss with oil, salt, and any desired seasonings, and roast in a low oven ’til golden brown.

For more Halloween ideas and recipes, visit www.thekitchn.com

Did you know?

• Keep your pumpkin fresh.  Spread petroleum jellyon the cut edges to seal in moisture. If your pumpkin still shrivels a few days later, you can revive it with a facedown soak in cold water for up to eight hours.

• Sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the lid.  When you light the candle, your jack-o’-lantern will smell like a pumpkin pie.

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