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Pumpkin Carving

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Oct 2017; updated May 2023.

It's the time of year for pumpkin carving! Here are some helpful tips and templates to help your family create your own Halloween pumpkin lantern.

This is an activity best on a sunny Autumn day outside in the garden as it can get a bit messy 😉

There are many instructions on the internet on how to carve a great pumpkin. We've pulled together a few tips, ideas, and favourites here that will help you carve a great pumpkin with the kids.

Carving a Pumpkin with Kids

Sharp knives are involved, and we recommend an adult does the cutting. However, there's plenty you can get the kids involved with.

The best pumpkins we have ever carved are from using a stencil. Many of these are available on the web, and we have a few below.

The kids will love to choose the stencil for their pumpkin - though be warned - many very complicated designs are difficult to carve. We've kept our suggested list of templates to ones that are a little less complicated.

Using a Pumpkin Stencil

  • Print out the pumpkin stencil, cut it down to size, and tape it to the pumpkin.
  • Then, get a pin or cocktail stick, and trace around the stencil by poking the pin or stick through the stencil and the pumpkin, following the outline of the stencil. This is something your kids can do if you are happy with them using a pin or cocktail stick.
  • Once the pin has traced the stencil, cut open the top or back of the pumpkin and hollow it out.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut out the traced pumpkin stencil.

Below are some videos with tips on how to carve a pumpkin.

Pumpkin Instruction Videos

YouTube Video Thumbnail
YouTube Video Thumbnail

Pumpkin Stencils

Here are some pumpkin stencils we've found on the internet.

An Easy Pirate Pumpkin


This Jolly Roger shouldn't be too difficult to carve. Via pumpkincarvingtemplatessite.blogspot.co.uk

A Classic


This one is a classic pumpkin face.

The teeth might be a bit tricky to carve. However, you could follow the steps in the video and just cut the mouth open and add fangs using cocktail sticks. Via sheknows.com

Ghostbusters Pumpkin Template


This one could be a bit tricky in places, but it's a fun one nonetheless.

Via blogspot.co.uk

How we got on

Inspired by the above video, Tom designed his Cyclops pumpkin, now known as 'Phsyco-Pig'.

I helped do the main carving, with Tom carving out the teeth.

Almost finished - the pumpkin is taking shape.

Testing it out with an LED candle.

Outside waiting for darkness. The horns or ears are held on with cocktail sticks.

Glowing and ready for Halloween

What do with your pumpkin after Halloween

The pumpkins don't last forever and will soon start to rot down. Before they do, turn your pumpkin lantern into a bird feeder. Click here for details.