How to carve a spooky or cute pumpkin for Halloween

How to carve a spooky or cute pumpkin for Halloween

How to carve a spooky or cute pumpkin for Halloween

October 28, 2022

Likbez Do it yourself

Detailed instructions, helpful videos and inspiring photos.
Photo by Daria Rodionova

Daria Rodionova

Lifehacker senior editor

How to carve a spooky or cute pumpkin for Halloween


The pumpkin lantern is the most famous Halloween attribute. It is a hollow pumpkin with a face carved on it and a candle inserted inside.

This pumpkin is also called the Jack-o’-lantern. The legend tells about the drunkard Jack, who twice deceived the devil and after death, not allowed into either heaven or hell, was forced to wander the earth, lighting his way with a smoldering ember.

Therefore, various faces with an intimidating smile are usually depicted on a pumpkin. Although some prefer to cut out other designs, such as ghosts, witches, animals, characters from films and cartoons, and even complex artistic compositions.

What will you need

First of all, find a beautiful pumpkin without severe damage.

You will need a strong knife for cutting. If the pattern is complex, take several pieces of different sizes. Scoop out the insides of the pumpkin with a large spoon.

For drawing, a felt-tip pen or a pen is useful. You may also need a drawing template. Here are some classic and non-standard options:

To download them, follow the links:

  • 1st template;
  • 2nd template;
  • 3rd template;
  • 4th template;
  • 5th template;
  • 6th template;
  • 7th template;
  • 8th template;
  • 9th template;
  • 10th template.

Many more options can be found and downloaded here and here. If you choose to use a template, you will need scissors, tape or push pins, and a needle.

Prepare also one or more candles, as well as a lighter or matches. Instead of real candles, if desired, you can use electric ones.

How to carve a pumpkin for Halloween

Cut off the top of the pumpkin. In order not to make a mistake, you can draw a circle on top of which you need to cut.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

Cut the flesh of the pumpkin around.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

Take out the cut piece.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

You can remove the top a little differently. Cut it at an angle, piercing through the pumpkin and cutting in a circle. Remove the top and cut off the pulp:

Do not throw away the top, you will need it.

Scoop out the seeds and any excess pulp with a spoon. Pumpkin must be empty inside. If the walls of the future lamp seem thick to you, scrape even more pulp from the inside.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

Draw on the pumpkin triangular eyes and a nose, a mouth extended in a smile and a few teeth.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

If you decide to make a lamp using a template, first print out the option you like. Then there are two ways to use it. First: cut out the details on the template, attach it to the pumpkin with tape or buttons and circle the holes. Here is the video instruction:

The second way: attach the template to the pumpkin and walk along the edges of the parts with a needle. There should be a noticeable dotted line. After these lines, for convenience, you can circle with a felt-tip pen or pen. Accelerated master class:

Start cutting along the marked lines.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

Discard the cut piece. You won’t need it anymore.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

Cut out the other drawn parts in the same way.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

Place one or more candles inside and light.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

Place the top you cut off on top. The lamp is ready.

Frame: Warren Nash / YouTube

The whole process is shown in this video:

What other options are there

As already mentioned, there are a lot of pumpkin lamp designs. This tutorial shows you how to make a jack-o’-lantern with a menacing grimace:

And here is the original creepy lamp with a small pumpkin in its teeth:

Here are funny and not at all scary faces:

And these are themed lamps with superheroes:

And a few more cool photo ideas on how to carve a pumpkin or just color it:

Read also 😈🎃🦇
  • What to cook for Halloween: recipes for terribly delicious dishes
  • 22 Horror Movies Based on True Events and Popular Legends
  • Why Halloween is so popular and how it affects the psyche
  • 7 Cool Pumpkin Crafts for Kids and Adults
  • How to celebrate Halloween in 18+ style

Cover: Yellowj / Ramcreative / Shutterstock / Lifehacker
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