How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin using a template - Stencils, Tips, Pictures and Pumpkin Seed Recipe
This guide will show you how to carve a unique Jack-o-lantern out of a pumpkin for Halloween. You can make a classic Jack-o-lantern if you prefer but I like to give a little more personality to my Halloween pumpkins. The Halloween pumpkins pictured were very easy to make with no need for stencils or patterns. Each of the pumpkins shown in the pictures below took about 30 minutes to carve.
The first piece of advice I would give is to buy your pumpkin early rather than at the last minute. You will find the best selection of pumpkins about 3 weeks before Halloween. I always get mine from Walmart for under $5.00 each, they are approximately the size of a basketball. Get one that has a nice stem, any shape, with a bright orange color and try to find a medium size pumpkin because they are the easiest to work with. When you bring your pumpkin home give it a bath to get any dirt or marks off of it. Just use liquid soap like Dawn and water then dry it with a towel or you can use baby wipes to clean it. Uncarved pumpkins do not require refrigeration and it is best to leave the carving until 1-3 days before Halloween.
I did not exactly use a template for my pumpkin before I decided on the design. But, I did doodle quite a bit before I settled on the goofy face. I made a template / pattern for the design in case anyone wants to recreate this pumpkin in the future or just use it as a guide.
I find it best to use a crayon to draw the design on the actual pumpkin then I use a little poker tool that came in my Pumpkin Masters kit (optional a pushpin works fine) to outline what I would be carving. Once the holes are poked into the skin remove the crayon markings I used a magic eraser sponge. Now all you have to do is connect the dots. I did not use a special tool, drill or dremel to carve my pumpkin just a sharp kitchen knife and the smaller the better.
You are going to leave the top of the pumpkin in tact and make your hole in the bottom. When you are cutting into the pumpkin make sure to angle your knife towards the center of the pumpkin this will give it a better base to stand on. You will also want to cut a notch just as a guide on how to line up the pumpkin when you put it back together. It should look like this below, only difference is that I do it to the bottom not the top.
Once you scoop all of the guts out scrape the inside of the pumpkin until it looks smooth inside. Save your pumpkin seeds to roast later.
For this particular pumpkin the only parts that were carved all the way through were the eyeballs and the mouth. For all of the other parts, like the teeth and the whites of the eyes, I just shaved off the orange skin leaving the yellow flesh of the pumpkin visible. You can use the knife for the shaving too. Instead of pushing the knife all the way through the pumpkin, slice into the flesh only a couple of centimeters deep to outline your design then shave only the top orange layer of the pumpkin's skin off leaving the yellow/white flesh visible. When you are done carving use a glowstick, tealight or a small candle and light it up.
This is how he looks lit up at night.
Here are some pictures of my past Halloween pumpkins.
Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe
Ingredients you need for this pumpkin seed recipe include:
2 cups pumpkin seeds
8 cups water
4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Instructions for this pumpkin seed recipe:
Add the pumpkin seeds, water, and salt to a pot. Bring the water and let simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the pumpkin seeds. Spread the olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10-20 minutes until browned.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!