Carving a jack-o-lantern can be a bit tedious, but Halloween just isn’t the same without glowing pumpkins. Below are some tips to make the process a little easier but a lot spookier.
- Use a dry erase marker instead of a Sharpie to draw your design. This way you can easily erase your mistakes and you won’t leave a pesky outline.
- Use an ice cream scoop to gut your pumpkin—it picks up a lot more than a regular spoon.
- Use cookie cutters to cut out basic shapes such as triangles and circles.
- Add a v-shaped notch to the “lid” of your jack-o-lantern so that you always know which way to turn it when placing it on the pumpkin.
- Rub petroleum jelly on the carved parts to preserve the jack-o-lantern for longer.
- Carve a hole in the bottom of your pumpkin if you tend to burn your fingers. This way you can place the jack-o-lantern on top of a lit candle instead of lowering the candle in and lighting it from above.
- Find a printable jack-o-lantern stencil on Pinterest or other creative websites, then tape the stencil to your pumpkin and use thumb tacks to poke the shapes into its shell. Start carving once you have the shapes fully traced with thumbtack holes.
- Sprinkle cinnamon inside your jack-o-lantern so that it smells like pumpkin spice when lit! This doesn’t make carving easier, just much more enjoyable.
As a bonus, below are some unique designs to try out these new hacks on.
- Turn your pumpkin on its side so that you can use its stem as the jack-o-lantern’s nose.
- Add some fear factor to your pumpkin by making it a cannibal—carve out a large mouth and place a miniature pumpkin inside of it.
- Save your carving scraps and use leftover pumpkin shell pieces to give your jack-o-lantern a tongue or ears using toothpicks.
- Use white pumpkins to carve skull or ghost jack-o-lanterns. (Or you can even skip a few holidays ahead and use white pumpkins to make snowmen.)
- Use pumpkin varieties with wart-like growths to create witch or zombie jack-o-lanterns.
- Carve a large mouth hole and use toothpicks and candy corn to create sharp teeth. Attach each candy corn to one end of a toothpick and then poke the other end into the pumpkin’s flesh. This works great for shark pumpkins, monster pumpkins, and cannibal pumpkins. If you choose to make a shark pumpkin, you can use leftover pumpkin shell to make a fin.
- Simply carve small squares into your pumpkin and then draw building shapes around them with permanent marker. When the jack-o-lantern is lit, it will look like a miniature cityscape.
- Take pumpkin carving to a whole new level by using hollowed-out pumpkins as candy bowls or flower vases.
Leave your own creative jack-o-lantern ideas in the comments!