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Canning Day Quilt

Carving Pumpkins

Growing up, my family always carved  pumpkins with triangle eyes and nose.  They were quick, simple and very predicable.  I like to think they had a classic charm.

But then I married my husband and found out that pumpkin carving can be serious business…

I loved this headless horseman from last year.

Our pumpkins are never cute or sweet.  My husband loves them frightening and spooky.   “I vant to suuck your bluud.”

This one reminds me of the final scene from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.  You know, when the bad guys melt like wax figures (I’m sure they were wax figures).

Just for me, he carved a face last year.  And while this pumpkin didn’t have triangular eyes…  I felt like I could name him Jack.

I asked my husband to share some of his favorite pumpkin carving tips just in time for Halloween. And here’s what he had to say:

  • Cut the circle out of the bottom of the pumpkin when hollowing it out.  It’s much easier to light the candle that way.  Yes we still use candles.
  • Thin the side of the pumpkin you will be carving by scraping it with a metal spoon.  He tries to thin it to about 3/4 inch thickness.  If you thin the surface too much the pumpkin will be weak and prone to breaking.  Leaving it too thick makes it hard to carve an intricate design.
  • It’s my job to stipple the design onto each pumpkin before carving.  I like to attach the design with masking tape, it sticks better than Scotch tape.
  • There are lots of free resources to find templates online… I love the ones from Martha Stewart.  There are also a few site that provide wonderful patterns for a fee.  You can also draw a picture or find a scary scene and make your own template.
  • Always  carve the most  intricate areas first.
  • After carving, save your pumpkins in a tub of cold water (even throw in a few ice cubes) to keep them fresh for Halloween night.  This helps rehydrate the pumpkin so it doesn’t get shriveled and allows you to carve a day or two ahead of time.
  • If you have a very intricate design, and need your pumpkin to last you can even coat the carved area with Vaseline to seal in the moisture.
  • And of course, save your seeds and toast them!  Yum!
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6 Responses to “Carving Pumpkins”

  • S. Richins:

    Are there special tools that you use? When you carve, are you cutting clear through the flesh, or are you just scraping off the orange outer shell? We have always done the carve all the way through the pumpkin too, and have no idea how to do it any other way. Thanks for your post. We all have pumpkins on the brain.

    • Calli:

      My husband uses a combination of carving knives and those little saws you can buy for carving pumpkins. All of these pumpkins were carved not scraped. I know he has wanted to try the scraping method, but hasn’t done it yet. Have fun.


  • elsa:

    fantastic! your husband is quite the artist!

  • Holly:

    Wow, those are some impressive pumpkins! I confess, though, my favorites are still the ones with goofy faces.

    This may be a silly question, but how do you toast pumpkin seeds? I remember loving them when I was a girl, but I don’t remember how my mom made them. Is it just a matter of tossing them on a baking sheet with some salt, or do you oil them, too? Is there a particular oven temperature/time combination you recommend? Thanks!

  • Wow! These look amazing! I’m going to bookmark this for next year :) Kerry

  • [...] credits: 1. Pinterest 2.adventuressheart.com 3.make-it-do.com 4. Better Homes & Gardens 5.Country [...]

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