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How to Carve a Pumpkin

My favorite part of Halloween is pumpkin carving!! I’ve passed that love onto my three kiddies & it’s a tradition we continue with each year. I’m going to give you my tips on how to carve a pumpkin so that kiddies can get involved & carve their own pumpkins.


1.  Select the Perfect Pumpkins:

a. Don’t buy ones that are very small as they are too hard to carve.

b. Pick a pumpkin that has a nice side that will work well for carving the face.

2.  Have your Table Ready for Carving:

a.  I save my old tablecloths for arts & crafts. I put one down & some newspapers on top for an easy clean up.

b.  Have two large bowls – one for pumpkin mush & one for seeds (if you are saving your seeds for roasting).

c.  Have a roll of paper towels / kitchen roll handy.

d.  Each person needs a large spoon & a child safe carving knife. They are the best & allow my boys aged 6 & 8 to carve by themselves. I wasn’t able to find any in Ireland so my Godmother sent us some from the U.S. They are well worth searching for!

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3.  Storage Tips:

a.  Don’t keep your pumpkins in the house – they will rot super fast. Even before carving, it’s best to keep them outside.

b.  Don’t carve them too early or they will rot before Halloween. It’s safe to carve 3 – 7 days before Halloween, depending on how warm your climate is.


1.  The most critical part of pumpkin carving is cutting the top properly so it will fit back on when you are done (we learned this the hard way). I always cut the kids’ ones for them. The key is to cut at an angle. If you cut straight down, the top could fall into the pumpkin.

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2.  After the lid is off, it’s time to scoop out the insides. We put goop into one bowl & seeds in the other. I also go through & pick seeds out of the goop when we are done. Use a large spoon & scrape along the inside of the pumpkin. Go around & around to loosen the goop. It comes out much easier that way.

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3.  When the kids have most of the seeds & goop out, I help them scrape out what’s left. Be careful not to scrape around the opening. If you change the shape of the cut, then the lid might fall into the pumpkin.

4.  Often times the pumpkin ends up wet or goopy on the outside. Just wipe it down with a piece of paper towel / kitchen roll.

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5.  Now, you are ready to carve the face! Select which side of the pumpkin is best for the face. I choose the tallest side, as it has the most room for carving.

6.  Tips for Cutting the Face:

a.  Don’t have the eyes too near the top of the pumpkin as it can disturb the lid.

b.  For little ones, they or you can draw the design before cutting. This was the first year my boys cut the faces themselves without pre-drawing them on. In the past, I’ve held their hand & helped them cut. Before that, they drew what they liked & I cut it out for them. They would also use a permanent marker to add hair, eats, glasses, etc.

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c.  Make your initial cut & remove the pumpkin piece. I prefer when the cuts are large so more light gets out. You can go back & cut away the inner portion of the cuts to expand them.  Here’s the first cut, you can see that the eye holes are narrow:

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d.  Here is the finished face. You can see the eye openings are larger after taking away some of the inner pumpkin.

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7.  When the kids are all done, I clean out any goop that’s left & wipe down the outside of the pumpkin & around the cuts. Here are our finished pumpkins!

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They are ready for a tea light this Halloween night. Do you have any tips to add? I’d love to see your finished pumpkins – tweet me @CuddleFairy for a retweet! Follow me for more positivity…

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