Carving your own Halloween pumpkin is an easy and fun activity for the whole family. Check out these carving tips from expert carver Sean Fitzpatrick, and get ideas, templates and step-by-step instuctions below.
Top 5 Do's and Don'ts of Pumpkin Carving
DON'T immediately start carving your pumpkin.
DO wash your pumpkin first in warm soapy water to reduce the spread of mold into the pumpkin.
DON'T cut the top off your pumpkin.
DO cut the bottom off your pumpkin to keep the moisture inside the pumpkin longer.
DON'T take the pumpkin guts out one scoop at a time.
DO scoop in one spiral motion, keeping the innards inside the pumpkin, until all of the strings and seeds are free from the walls. Then turn your pumpkin over a bowl and the insides will fall out in one drop.
DON'T carve big pieces out first.
DO start with smaller details towards the center of the design to avoid breakage.
DON'T put your pumpkin out as soon as you're done carving.
DO rub petroleum jelly on all cut edges to help preserve the pumpkin.
Top 5 Pumpkin Carving Tips
Tip 1 Cut a hole in the bottom of your pumpkin in the shape of a pumpkin. The stem shape will allow you to easily reattach the base once you have gutted your pumpkin.
An ice cream scoop makes a great tool to gut the inside of your pumpkin.
Use a fine serrated knife or small carving blade to make detailed cuts.
A plastic scouring pad can be used to clean and smooth the inside of your pumpkin and get rid of that loose stringy look.
Wrap your finished carving in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to display.
Step by Step Ghost, Witch and Scarecrow
Follow the same instructions for each:
Step 1: Wash and Dry Pumpkin:
To reduce the risk of spreading bacteria or mold into the carved pumpkin, it is important to clean your pumpkin and carving tools with warm soapy water before you begin carving. Once everything is clean, be sure to dry your pumpkin thoroughly.
Step 2: Cut Bottom off Pumpkin
By cutting an access hole in the bottom of your pumpkin, you will allow the pumpkin to retain more moisture and therefore extend the amount of time you can display it. This also creates a cleaner more finished looking pumpkin. In red ink, draw a large circle in the shape of a pumpkin on the bottom. The stem you have drawn will act as a key way so you will be able to easily replace the bottom after you are finished carving in the same place -- no muss no fuss.
Step 3: Remove the Pumpkin Innards
Remove the bottom of the pumpkin and clean out the inside of your pumpkin with an ice cream scoop. You want to work in a circular motion, rotating the pumpkin working your way from the base all the way to the stem. Leave all the guts inside until the very end, just keep turning and scooping, turning and scooping. Hold the pumpkin over a bowl and all the innards will fall out at once.
Step 4: Attach Template
Print out the template.
CLICK HERE for the ghost template.
CLICK HERE for the scarecrow template.
CLICK HERE for the witch template.