How to Carve a Pumpkin

Learning how to carve a pumpkin well was always something I wanted to learn.  I love a well carved pumpkin!  Here at Kids Activities Blog, we have explored several no carve pumpkin techniques this season, but I thought it would be fun to revisit our pumpkin carving class.

Last year, my three boys and I went to a pumpkin carving at Central Market with a pumpkin carving expert courtesy of TXU Energy.

pumpkin carving tips

This is what we learned:

Pumpkin Carving Tips

  • When you select a pumpkin, choose one that has a smooth skin with less bumps because it will be easier to carve.
  • Use a saw or knife with saw teeth to make initial cuts.
  • Cut the top at an angle so it won’t fall into the pumpkin.
  • Cut a notch in the top so it is easier to find the proper placement of the lid.
  • If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin guts, break out the gloves!
  • Scoop out the guts with a spoon or scraper.
  • Once you locate the side of the pumpkin you will be carving, smooth the inside shaving it down so the depth of the pumpkin side is 1/2 inch.  You can use a marked toothpick to measure depth {be sure to place toothpick in an area you plan on cutting out}.
  • Cut your pattern out in a circle with slits along the sides so you can mold it close to the pumpkin.
  • Use tape to fasten the pattern.
  • Smooth the pattern top to bottom and then left to right.
  • Use a poker to mark the pattern with dots.  The closer together the dots, the more finer the cut.
  • Rub flour on the pumpkin to expose the dots.
  • Cut along the dots from the INSIDE of the pattern to the OUTSIDE.  That will keep the structure with the most support.

how to carve a pumpkin collage Pumpkin Carving Pattern

  • One of the best pumpkin carving pattern tips I learned today is to use Elmer’s glue to affix the pattern on the pumpkin.
  • The night before you plan on carving, spread a thin layer of Elmer’s glue on the back of the pattern and then mold it to the pumpkin side.
  • Allow it to dry overnight.
  • This will allow you to skip the step of using the poker to make dots on the pattern.  You will be able to use a saw or knife directly on the pattern.
  • Once you are done with the pattern, you can remove the remaining glue/paper with warm water.
  • Be sure to use a copier/printer to size the pattern appropriately for your pumpkin size.

pumpkin carving kids Pumpkin Safety

  • Obviously if you are carving pumpkins with kids, you will need to be supervising them CLOSELY.  Even the pumpkin carving kits that have safer tools are rated for kids 12+.  They completed many of the non-cutting steps including the pattern poking.  The pumpkin skin is pretty tough so it wasn’t difficult to talk them into letting me cut after they had tried it for a little while.
  • Lighting a pumpkin can also be a hazard.  Using a LED light instead of a candle can not only eliminate a fire hazard, but can help keep your pumpkin fresh longer.  We used Sylvania’s Dot-It lights for our pumpkins.

pumpkin led light

How long does a pumpkin last?

  • If you read Heather’s rotting pumpkin experiment, you know EXACTLY the answer to this question!  Generally a carved pumpkin will last 3-4 days.
  • You can increase the life expectancy of your carved pumpkin by spraying the cut edges with PAM or rubbing them with Vaseline.
  • Spraying the pumpkin occasionally with a spray of bleach and water can decrease the bacteria which causes the rotting process.
  • You can also wrap a carved pumpkin in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

My kids and I attended the TXU Energy blogger event and were sent home with our pumpkins and the LED lights to light them along with a few other goodies.  Check out TXU Energy’s information on Energy Thieves.  

4 days later teeth whitening

About Holly

Kids Activities Blog is Holly's blogging home.

She is the mom of three boys ages 7, 10 and 12 who partially homeschools. She believes that you shouldn't have to buy stuff to have fun when there is a kitchen junk drawer full of possibilities.

She can also be found at Business 2 Blogger, on Twitter as @QuirkyMommaSite or @Texasholly, but her favorite place to hang out is on Google +.