Learn how to carve pumpkins like a pro. Easily create great looking carving creations using pumpkin carving stencils.

It is that time of the year where kids (little and big kids) gets to dress up and have fun. Halloween is probably the funniest holiday of the year. Little kids can't wait to go to door to door, Trick or Treating, running from neighbor to neighbor getting candies. Yes it is Halloween. What better way to make a smile, even a bigger smile than pumpkin carving? So how does one carve great looking pumpkins?

How to carve great looking pumpkin carvings?

jack-o-lanternsThe secret to a great looking pumpkin carving is the right tools, pumpkin carving stencils (also known as pumpkin carving templates). You can create your own carving stencils. Using a standard 8.5" by 11" sheet of computer/photocopying paper, draw out your design. Using a permanent marker helps your design stands out, making it easier to trace onto your pumpkin. Not a good drawer? That's ok. There are many pumpkin stencils that you can download for free. Two sites which offer free pumpkin stencils are:

  • marthastewart.com/photogallery/pumpkin-templates
  • history.com/interactives/pumpkin-carving-patterns

Steps in carving your pumpkin

  1. First you should choose 1 to 3 designs with different level of difficulties.
  2. Once you decided which pumpkin carving stencils to go with, the next step is selecting the pumpkin. Not only do you need to choose a healthy pumpkin, you need to also pay attention to the shape of the pumpkin. Depending on carving stencil, you will need either a tall skinny pumpkin or a short stubby pumpkin.
  3. Before any cutting or tracing is started, you should clean your pumpkin. With a damp cloth wipe clean off any dirt. Doing so will help your carving stencil stick onto your pumpkin.
  4. Cutting time. Start off with removing the stem. It is best to cut out the stem in a hexagon shape. Cutting straight lines is much easier than trying to cut circular/oval shapes. Use a pumpkin carving kit as it is the easiest and safest to work with. If you don't have a pumpkin carving kit, the next best thing is to use a saw type knife.
  5. Now for the fun part, pulling out the seeds and pulp. This is where your children will have a blast. Let them loose on the pumpkin. Have them pull out the loose seeds and pulp. When they are done, use the scooper (if your pumpkin carving kit has one) or use a large spoon and scoop the inner sides of the pumpkin. Save those seeds so you can fry them for yummy pumpkin seeds.
  6. Tape your stencil onto the pumpkin. Using the poking tool (if your pumpkin carving kit has one) or use a thumb tack or nail and score the pumpkin following the stencil. Using your carving knife, follow the stencil transfer to carve out pumpkin pieces. Push out the cut pieces from the inner side of the pumpkin to the outside. If something accidentally breaks, you can use tooth picks to place it back.
  7. Once all carving is complete, place a candle inside the pumpkin. Light the candle to emit an eerie glow. Never leave lit pumpkins unsupervised. Before heading to bed, remember to blow out all candles.

Pumpkin PickingNothing says Halloween like having jack-o'-lanterns welcoming guests and visitors to home. The most important thing is to have fun!