Crafts & activities

How to carve your own pumpkin for Halloween

There's no better Halloween decoration than a carved pumpkin! So, follow this step-by-step tutorial by Miranda Jennings and carve your own jack-o-lantern for the spooky season. We've got a selection of stencils for you to print out too, including an extra special Puffin one!

Miranda Jennings
A photo with all the materials you will need for pumpkin carving including a pumpkin, stencil print out, scissors, sticky tape, a scoop, a poker, small serrated knife, and coloured pen
© Miranda Jennings

You will need:

•  Pumpkin

•  A stencil printout (download below)

•  Scissors

•  Tape or blue tack

•  A scoop or spoon

•  A poker or cocktail stick

• Small serrated knife

• Light-coloured pen or dry-wipe marker

Choose from five stencils:

To begin:

1.  On the top of your pumpkin, draw a five or six-sided shape around the stem. Using a knife carefully cut in at an angle towards the centre all the way around. This will stop your lid from falling in.

A photo of a hand cutting out the top of a pumpkin
© Miranda Jennings

2.  Remove the top and cut away the excess to create a neat lid with no soft flesh. Scoop out the contents. Remove all the stringy flesh and seeds to leave a hard wall behind.

A photo of a pumpkin have it's inner contents scooped out using a spoon
© Miranda Jennings

There are two easy ways to apply a stencil to a pumpkin for carving. The first method is perfect for more detailed designs and involves less scissor cutting. The second is ideal for simpler designs and uses a bit more snipping.

Method A:

1. Cut away the excess paper around your design. Make 3 or 4 snips around the edges of the paper (not into the design) to help fit around its shape and tape to the pumpkin.

A photo of a pumpkin with a stencil laid on top of it
© Miranda Jennings

2. Using a poker, cocktail stick, or fork, trace around the design by poking holes through the paper.

A photo of a stencil taped to a pumpkin and hands using a poker to poke the design out
© Miranda Jennings

3. Remove the stencil to reveal your design. You may want to use a light pen or dry-wipe marker to make the lines clearer to follow for carving.

A photo of a pumpkin with the stencil carved into it
© Miranda Jennings

Method B:

1.  Cut away the excess paper around your design. Next, cut out the shaded area of your stencil and tape it to the pumpkin.

A photo of a pair of hands cutting out a pumpkin face stencil from paper with a pair of scissors and a pumpkin in the background
© Miranda Jennings

2.  Using a light pen or wipeable marker, trace around the cut-out areas using the stencil. Remove your stencil and you should have an accurate drawing to follow.

A photo of a pair of hands holding the pumpkin stencil against the pumpkin
© Miranda Jennings

3.  Using a knife or cutter, carefully cut out your design and pop the shaded shapes out with your hands.

A photo of a pair of hands using a poker to poke out the stencil shape
© Miranda Jennings

4.  Check the cut-out areas are clear and cut away any loose bits. 

A photo of a hand poking out the carved stencil bits of the pumpkin
© Miranda Jennings

Finally, place a candle inside, pop on the lid, and watch your masterpiece glow!

A photo of three carved pumpkins sitting in a darkened room with candles inside them glowing
© Miranda Jennings

Watch the video below:

Huge thanks to Miranda Jennings for putting together this crafting activity! For more arts and crafts as well as beautiful family and home content, check out Miranda's Instagram @mirandaveda

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