Tips for Carving Pumpkins

Author United Supermarkets | September 8, 2022

A hand carved jack-o'-lantern is an iconic part of any front porch ready to show off its Halloween spirit. With these tips and tricks, anyone from a first timer to a pumpkin carving pro will be able to wow neighbors and trick-or-treaters. 

Step 1: Choose your pumpkin

Be sure to choose a fresh pumpkin with no bruising and a healthy stem. If you are a beginner, try using a pumpkin with a flat bottom for easier carving. If you're feeling creative, consider going for a uniquely shaped gourd instead of the traditional jack-o'-lantern pumpkin.

Don't have a pumpkin yet? We have plenty of fresh pumpkins to choose from.

Step 2: Cut into the pumpkin

Cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin rather than the top. This will help your pumpkin stay fresh longer by allowing the stem to continue to send nutrients to the pumpkin. 

Step 3: Empty the insides

Remove the insides of the pumpkin with a large spoon or ice cream scoop. 

Pro Tip: Try to thin the inside of the shell where you want the face to be to save time when carving!

Step 4: Sketch your design

 Plan out your design on paper before starting to carve your pumpkin. You can transfer the design by taping the paper to the pumpkin and using a fork or sewing pin to poke holes into the pumpkin, following the lines. 

If you prefer to freehand your carving designs, feel free to skip this step!

Step 5: Carve

Use a large, sharp knife to carefully carve the desired shape into the pumpkin. If carving on a flat surface feels unsteady, try placing the pumpkin in your lap. 

Pro Tip: Consider using different carving styles when cutting into your pumpkin. You could shave a thin layer off the outside of the pumpkin just thick enough to let the light shine through or drill holes into the pumpkin's shell to create perfect circles.

Step 6: Light it up

Traditionally, a candle is placed inside the pumpkin to provide its signature eerie glow, but many people are turning to LED alternatives to not worry about any open flames. Battery-operated votive candles and even Christmas lights are popular choices for candle alternatives. If you are looking for a brighter glow, consider using several candles.