How to carve a Jack-o-Lantern

The custom of carving a pumpkin began in ancient Ireland; or so I’m told.  There is a very lively story of Jack the Stingy you can look up online.  It is quite a fun tale.  The truth about Jack-O-Lanterns, though, come from the fact that night watchmen in Ireland carried lanterns made of hollowed vegetables. When the immigrants settled in America, they found that pumpkins were more abundant and cheaper to use as lanterns.

We bought our first Australian Halloween pumpkin this year (they are just new here and in previous years, I could not find one).  When I handed over the knife, Mr. AK disclosed to me that he has never carved a Jack-o-lantern and he didn’t want to mess it up.  Isn’t he precious?

How do you carve a Jack-O-Lantern?

First, lay out a lot of newspaper, it can get messy.


Can you see I drew a star on the top?  You can carve a circle, square or whatever you want for the top.  It just needs to come off so that you can scoop the insides out.


Yup, it’s hollow!  Mr. AK made the first cut of his life and pointed that fact out in surprise.  After you have the top off, you’ll want to use a metal spoon to scoop out the inside.  Don’t forget to clean the top off too.  I reserve all of the insides in a bowl (they will be used later).


See, all clean and ready for carving….

This is where the creative stuff starts.  I have seen a lot of templates online, you can download and print one of these, or if you prefer, draw a funny, scary or silly face yourself.  Some people put their name, favorite symbol, or silhouette of their favorite animal on the pumpkin.  Me?  I’m an old fashioned kinda gal…


I like to draw a typical jack-o-lantern face.  Easy to carve, friendly and inviting on my front porch.  Once you have the template finished, cut out the pumpkin along the lines (I used a marker to make my face).  If it is too tight to get your knife around corners; you can cut out by pieces.  That is how I got around the teeth.

Once you have the pumpkin carved; you can embellish it by cutting under the skin so that the fleshy part of the pumpkin shows.  I did this to add eyelashes, eyebrows and bits of fringe at the “hairline”.  Cute, don’t ya think?


I also added freckles by poking small holes in the cheek.

Now you add a candle.  Any old candle will do.  I used a votive that I had lying around the house.  When my Jack-O-Lantern is lit; I tilt the top so that the air can escape through there as well.  If you have small carvings, the candle will expire if there is not enough ventilation, so this technique will help keep your art lit.


Here is our newest addition during the day…


Doesn’t she have a face that only a mother could love?  I think she’s adorable.




Now don’t forget those insides; tomorrow we’ll figure out how to roast the seeds for a delicious, healthy snack.

2 Comments - Click Here! Love to Hear from You.:

Bev said...

I was wondering where the "Jack-O-Lanterns" started. Thanks for a little bit of History. I love it!

Anonymous said...

I never knew how to "carve" the pumpkin
Now "problem" solved
Thanks for the easy to follow instructions

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