Pumpkin carving: How-to guides, hacks and inspiration for your Halloween pumpkin

Halloween is fast approaching, so it’s time to check out these 12 amazing (and easy!) pumpkin carving tutorials…

It wouldn’t be Halloween without an orange pumpkin sitting on your doorstep or window sill, grinning, or grimacing, at all the trick or treaters passing by.

But how do you go about carving your own grinning jack-o’-lantern?

Whether you're a first-time pumpkin carver or an experienced pro, we have all the pumpkin carving tips you need to make yours the best in the neighbourhood.

Look this way…

Where to buy Halloween pumpkins

If you aren't organised enough to grow your own Halloween pumpkin (let's face it, who is?) then you'll need to buy one. Most of the supermarket chains sell pumpkins the right size for carving so make sure you head down in time to get your perfect specimen. Remember you'll also need a suitable knife - you'll need something strong and long (not too long though!) with a serrated edge.

Preparing your pumpkin

First things first, let’s look at the basics…

It’s all well and good giving you plenty of pumpkin carving inspiration, but it’d be nothing without the basic step-by-step guide to getting yours ready.

  • Use a serrated knife to cut a hole into your pumpkin. Always remember to never leave knives lying around - we all know little ones love to get involved at every stage but it's really important to keep an adult eye on things.

*TOP TIP: If you will be using a candle, cut the hole in the top. If you’re using electric fairy lights, make a hole in the bottom or the side of your pumpkin, so you can hide the wires.

  • Scoop out the flesh, pulp, and seeds, using a large spoon. Get rid of all the inside pumpkin goodness! But don't forget to save it, as your leftover pumpkin excess has sooooo many uses...

  • Using a marker pen, draw a simple face outline onto your pumpkin and cut out the eyes, nose and mouth using a small serrated knife.

Using pumpkin carving stencils

  • Decide on your design (there are plenty of easy printable templates to choose from at Pumpkin Lady) and print it off.

If you're thinking of featuring your little one's favourite Disney character on your pumpkin, look no further than these amazing print-out film stencils.

  • Using sellotape, stick your printed design to the pumpkin, and trace the design by poking holes with a needle tool or T-pin.

  • Remove the template and carve along the pattern using a miniature saw, drill or sharp bread knife.

TIP: Always cut away from you in case the knife slips.

  • Pop a candle or electric fairy lights inside your pumpkin and voila!

Pumpkin tips and tricks

Fancy cutting a few corners along with your pumpkin?

This amazing video, created by the clever folk at Buzzfeed, has plenty of must-know hacks and tips to make things even simpler.

Check it out:

That’s basically made it so ANYONE can carve a pumpkin, regardless of their creativity or skills. Amazing, right?

Up the ante with a Jack Skellington pumpkin

He’s known as the Pumpkin King to his friends around Halloweentown, so it makes perfect sense to base your pumpkin on Jack Skellington.

Check out the tutorial video below:

It looks absolutely incredible, doesn’t it? And it’s so simple, too!

Hint: We bet it would be even more creepy if you purchased a white pumpkin…

Minion pumpkin ideas

We’re not going to lie; this pumpkin design will take a little more time than your bog standard pumpkin funny-face.

But, despite appearances, this awesome Minion pumpkin (who looks like he’s escaped right out of Despicable Me) couldn’t be simpler to make.

Check out the video below:

Don't fancy carving a complicated minion? How about painting one instead? Equally as effective...

Tinker-Bell pumpkin carving

And all it takes is faith, trust, and pixie dust.

We kid, we kid - there’s actually a fair few steps to this one.

Check out the tutorial video below:

TIP: Drill holes into your pumpkin first, and then cut out Tinkerbell herself!

Again, it’s all about getting a good printed design (there’s plenty of Tink stencils available online - we love this one!), sticking it onto your pumpkin and carefully trimming around it.

The drilled holes add a dash of sparkle to her flight and REALLY finishes off the look perfectly.

We want in.

‘Peek-a-boo!’ pumpkin

The crafty folk at Better Homes have come up with this outrageously cute pumpkin carving design - and we have a feeling it’ll definitely liven up your home.

For this one, you’ll need a few extra bits and bobs, including:

  • Black felt

  • Craft glue

  • Googly eyes

  • The Better Homes hand pattern (available here

All you’ll need to do is trace the hands onto black felt, cut them out, stick them onto your pumpkin.

Hello Kitty pumpkin!

Sometimes it’s worth opting for something a little niche if you want to stand out from the crowd.

And what could be a better way to do that than this Hello Kitty carving?

Check out the tutorial video below:

Again, it’s all about printing off your stencil and cutting out carefully around it.

Easy-peasy, right? Just be sure to take your time.

Pumpkin writing

Forget ghostly images, how about writing a creepy quote instead?

According to Country Living, black is DEFINITELY the new orange.

And you can see why looking at this awesome pumpkin idea.

Yup, no carving required!

For this one, you’ll need a few little extra bits and bobs.

These will include:

  • Blackboard paint

  • White chalk

You colu up the ante and try and carve out words on your pumpkin. It's tricky, fiddling and takes a while but it's so worth it. Look:

Making your own Pumpkin scene

Like a traditional christmassy nativity scene but waaaaaaay more scary...

This year, people are getting super creative with their pumpkin ideas. Simply cutting out a square and using matches or sticks to create a dungeon and setting up their very own dungeon scene!

Who needs to watch a scary movie?

No-carve ombre spiderweb pumpkins…

These beautiful ombre pumpkins, the brainchild of Plaid Online, will definitely be the talk of your neighbourhood.

They’re a little more fiddly than some of the pumpkin guides on this list, but we have every faith in you.

You will need a few little extra bits and pieces for this one.

So, as well as your pumpkins, you will need;

  • Foam sponges

  • Patterning tape

  • Chalk

  • Blackboard paint

  • Grey paint

  • Orange paints

Get the full instructions here now.

Gruesome pumpkin

Are you ready for, quite possibly, THE most incredible pumpkin design ever?

Check. It. Out.

As you may have guessed, this one’s been crafted outta two pumpkins (one white, one orange) and, if you’ve been reading all of our handy hints throughout this article, you should be able to figure out what you’re doing.

If you’d like a wee bit more guidance, however, head on over to Skull A Day on Blogspot

Fancy even MORE pumpkin carving inspiration? We've scoured Pinterest for these unique ideas that are 100% Instagram worthy:

What will you be carving into your pumpkin for Halloween?

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