How to Carve an Amazing Pumpkin

I have been carving intricate designs in pumpkins long before I had children.

From Linus and the Great Pumpkin to Napoleon Dynamite, these works of art adorn my home for the month of October and definitely bring a smile to my face.

This year, we are carving pumpkins to take to The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest benefiting Make A Wish. The organizers hope to break the world record of most pumpkins lit at once and grant 100 wishes for children in Illinois with life-threatening medial conditions. The festival is an incredible fall celebration for the whole family and includes All You Can Carve Pumpkins, Trick or Treating, carnival rides, Tito’s Vodka Tailgate Area and SO much more. This will be our third year in a row!

Carving an amazing pumpkin is surprisingly easy- even my 5 year old was able to help this year. First, pick the perfect pumpkin.

  • Make sure the stem is firmly attached.
  • Test the pumpkin on a flat surface to make sure it sits upright.
  • If the bottom of the pumpkin gives when pressed, it has already gone soft.

Next, select your template. Easiest way to do this is Google “pumpkin stencil” and take your pick! I enlarge the image before printing to fit my pumpkin.

Grab your tools- all you really need is a long knife for cutting the top off, a pumpkin scoop, a pounce wheel or poker tool and a small saw.

Cut the top of the pumpkin off with the long knife- cut a small notch to make it easy to pop the top back on. Scrape the seeds and guts of the pumpkin out. Make sure to thin out the wall of the pumpkin on the front to make it easier to carve.

Tape your stencil on the front of the pumpkin. Use the pounce wheel or poker tool to trace the design. If it is extremely intricate, do it in stages by poking some, carving, then poking more.

It is easier to cut small pieces out of a large area rather than do it all at once. Once you are finished, pop a candle in and place it in the dark to make sure you can see the light through all your carvings. Enjoy!

So grab your pumpkin and join us this weekend at The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest if you are in the area- the festival lasts all weekend and you can find the schedule here!