Not interested in the thought of being elbow-deep in pumpkin guts? Try etching instead. Etching will leave an artful and tasteful design on your pumpkin without having to carve out the insides. Leaving the pumpkin in tact will also help it last much longer. First, use our templates as a starting point. Reduce or enlarge the size according to your pumpkin’s size. Using a non-serrated paring knife, cut along the outlines of the pattern template. Do not puncture through to the other side. Then, simply peel the skin off to reveal a lighter orange shade. Finish with a coat of petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to protect the pumpkin’s exposed flesh.
Pumpkin Carving Templates
Carving intricate, symmetrical designs on your pumpkins, like the ones shown here, is easier than you think. While free handing often leads to spacing issues and lopsided designs, templates offer a pre-planned, foolproof way to carve pumpkins. Around the Halloween season, Kits are available everywhere–from dollar stores to high-end kitchen shops–but really, you do not need a kit. Assemble your own with basic kitchen tools such as a sharp knife, a smaller paring knife, and wide, sturdy spoons to clean out the seeds and stringy pulp. A small handsaw is also helpful. Use our free printable templates to make pumpkin carving even easier.
Pumpkin Carving Idea: Message Pumpkin
A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but a few words can have an equally eerie impact. This carving idea is definitely not for beginner-pumpkin carvers. First, create your message on a computer program using the font of your choice, the bolder, the better. Then, print out your template and tape it to your pumpkin, using a needle to imprint the font outline onto the pumpkin’s skin.
Running out of pumpkin carving ideas? You don’t have to stick with traditional holiday images, or a silly, scary jack-o-lantern face. Think of the pumpkin as a blank canvas, and create a masterpiece based on something a little more highbrow. A rendition of The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh elevates this pumpkin to a museum quality work of art. Create a design like this by scraping away the pumpkin’s outer shell rather than cutting a hole through it. Put a votive in the middle to showcase your design. The pumpkin wall should be about 1 inch thick to allow light to shine through.
This creative pumpkin display is sure to get a chuckle from neighbors and passerbys. Why should your jack-o’-lantern always be deprived of a body? Treat him (or her) like a snowman, and stack two pumpkins to give your display more presence. Carve the body to look like a button down shirt and sports coat. Because this is the South, Jack would never be caught without a bowtie or a pocket square, so carve a quick triangle. Scrape the skin off for a lighter color variation. Use leftover pumpkin remnants as arms, and don’t forget to give Jack a spiky hairdo.
Tiki masks are not just festive, fun decorations for summer luaus or tropical getaways. Tiki masks are also tied to the dark art of Voodoo, and are often used in rituals to evoke a spiritual deity, In fact, some of Southern Africa and the Caribbean’s creepiest legends involve ceremonial Voodoo masks. Add some Polynesian flair to your Halloween celebration by creating a unique tiki design with a scary face. Use small shapes to recreate the intricate façade of a Tiki pole, and etch the design by scraping away the pumpkin’s outer skin. Make your Tiki mask more kid-friendly by adding colorful oversize paper umbrellas and drink straws.
Friendly Pumpkin Faces
Give trick-or-treaters a warm welcome with a family of friendly pumpkin people. Purchase pumpkins in graduated sizes that will stack easily. Look for ones with large, unbroken stems and unique markings. Get creative, and carve faces in the smallest pumpkins that will make your guests grin. Try using the stem as a nose, or bring out the paints, and let kids make their mark on the project. To assemble your pumpkin person, stack three pumpkins and insert a long wooden dowel down the center. Dress your pumpkin people in the season’s best apparel. Raffia scarves, dried lotus pod buttons, twig arms, and flower hats are all great ways to complete this creative look.
Preserve your Pumpkins
If you want your pumpkin to outlast your neighbors’, try these preservation hacks. First, make sure that you have scraped every bit of pulp out from inside the pumpkin – remnants attract bugs and bacteria that speed up the rotting process. Keep a fruit fly trap nearby the ward off pest infestation. Carve the hole in the bottom of the pumpkin, rather than the top, so that excess moisture seeps out rather than collecting in the bottom. Finally, rub your entire pumpkin in petroleum jelly or vegetable oil – not only does this coating give your pumpkin a luminous glow, it also seals the edges and prevents the loss of moisture.
Here’s a great use for those cute miniature pumpkins that you see outside of grocery stores and on the side of the road at your local produce stand during the autumn season. For a Halloween decoration that will bring seasonal color to your front door that lasts all the way until Thanksgiving, head to a nearby craft store. Attach some miniature pumpkins to a plastic foam wreath. It’s easy to do – just wire the pumpkins to the wreath form, and use sheet moss to fill the spaces between them with seasonal flair. Cap the wreath with a big black bow (or a witch hat!), and hang it on the front door.
Regardless of your age, you will have a blast carving these irresistibly adorable “Wee-B-Little” pumpkins. Their small sizes limit the complexity of your carving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Cut creepy, funny, and jolly eyes into each, and attach a wooden dowel into the bottom of each pumpkin. Skip the large knife for such small squashes; instead, us a small canapé cutter. Perch the finished pumpins in your window boxes among autumn favorites, like mums, marigolds, crotons, and ivy, varying the heights for an eclectic arrangement.
Use pumpkins for a festive way to ice down drinks for your Halloween party this year. Instead of filling your pumpkins with candles, fill them with ice in this creative craft. Using only a pumpkin, a large plastic bag, and copper tubing that you will surely use again and again, you can create this festive conversation piece that also helps keep you Halloween drinks cool.
For a tasty treat to accompany your cooler, rinse the seeds, and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. dried ground thyme, and 11/2 tsp. kosher salt. Place in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until toasted.