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Tips and Solutions Detail

Pumpkin Carving Tricks

Time To Learn

Table for carving

If you’ve ever looked at masterfully carved pumpkins and thought: how in the world did they do that? Now is the time to learn!

Most pumpkin carving tricks are easy to learn and simple to do. The steps and ideas in this article will help make pumpkin carving this Halloween less of a trick and more a treat! Whether you like spooky, simple, or complicated designs, or even if you just carve pumpkins for comic relief, you’ll find a template for you in our free downloads at the bottom of this article.


  • Lifetime Table
  • Lifetime folding chairs
  • The perfect pumpkin
  • Masking tape
  • Pencil or grease pencil
  • Sharp knife
  • Large, sturdy spoon
  • Hole poker
  • Tea light or small candle
  • Garbage can


Find the right pumpkin. Select a pumpkin with the right shape for the carving you’d like to do. Some carvings look better with a perfectly round pumpkin and some look best with a strangely shaped pumpkin. Choose a shape that will work best for you.

Use your pencil to draw a circle at the top of the pumpkin. This will be the hole you use to dig out the seeds and pulp, so be sure it is large enough to fit your hand through. A fun alternative way to doing this is to make your circle at the underside of the pumpkin. This will allow you to simply set the hollow jack-o-lantern over a candle and maintain the top of the pumpkin.

Cut out the circle shape using a sharp knife. To keep the pumpkins “lid” from slipping down, cut at an angle toward the center of the pumpkin. You may need to use a back and forth sawing motion to cut through the tough, thick skin.

Remove the cut circle. If it is at the top of the pumpkin, scrape off the seeds or pulp attached so you have a smooth underside. If it is at the bottom, simply throw the piece away.

Scoop out the insides. Using your large, strong spoon, scoop out the insides of the pumpkin and remove the seeds and pulp. Try to make the inside as smooth as possible. If you’re a pumpkin seed fan, be sure to set aside the seeds for baking, and try our Sweet N’ Salty Pumpkin Seeds recipe.

Clean up. Wipe off your Lifetime table with a wet paper towel or rag. The guts should wipe clean from the plastic surface easily. Throw away the pumpkin guts you don’t want to save.

Time to trace the design! If you are using a free downloadable template, print out the desired design and use masking tape to secure it to your pumpkin. Use a hole poker to make small holes along the cut lines. If you are making your own design, you can use a pencil to sketch out the cut lines on the pumpkin. It is a good idea to use a pencil because it is very easy to erase lines made by mistake. In some places, you may wish to only carve off the top layers of the pumpkin and create a light glow. In these instances, be sure to mark the places you do not want to carve right through the pumpkin shell.

Start cutting. If you are using a template, remove the paper and tape from the pumpkin. Start cutting along the small holes or pencil lines. Be sure to follow your marks carefully. If you try to carve half way through the pumpkin shell at some places, be sure to gauge the width of the shell, and only penetrate midway through. This is easily done by scraping off layers at a time. Light things up. Place a lit candle at the bottom of the jack-o-lantern and set it outside to get that spooky glow that every trick-or-treater loves!


  • For an easy, fire safe alternative, use electric candles instead of real candles.
  • For a really crazy effect, leave the guts inside the pumpkin and let them spill out to make a "barfing" pumpkin.

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