How to Carve a Pumpkin
To get started, find a good carving pumpkin and decide on a pattern (purchased or hand-drawn). Not all pumpkins can be carved as some have very thick walls. Hacking up a pumpkin is messy business. Prepare your space and have tools ready.
1. Cut the lid making a v-shaped notch.
2. Gently lift and cut the fibers to release.
3. Use a gutter or scoop to loosen insides.
4. Pour out sticky seeds and fibers.
5. With a scoop thin the walls where carving.
6. Trace or draw face to cut out.
7. If tracing make sure that you can see the pattern.
8. Slowly cut out shapes with small saw blade.
9. Gently push from the inside to release pieces.
10. Work from smallest details to largest.
11. Place a candle or (safer) glowstick inside.
12. Replace the lid using the notch as a guide.
13. Take pictures using camera's low-light setting.
Tip: Roast & eat seeds, or save for planting.
Essential Pumpkin Carving Tools
Find sturdy little saws in various shapes for big & little cuts.
Used to scoop guts & thin the walls of the pumpkin for easier carving.
Use to peel skin away from pumpkins but not cut through to allow designs to glow from within.
For pro users who want expert level of control, clay tools are perfect.
Add instant personality with these plastic teeth you stick right into the pumpkin flesh.
Use tealights, battery candles or glowsticks to light your pumpkins.
ZombiePumpkins.com is my favorite source for pumpkin carving patterns. You sign up for a membership (for as little as $2), choose from hundreds of patterns, download, print and start carving!
The fine folks at Zombie Pumpkins have given me the pattern "Twilight Flight" to share with visitors to this site – absolutely free!
More Pumpkin Carving Inspiration
At first glance, pumpkin carving may not sound like "art" but people across the country have elevated this seasonal craft into something spectacular. Take a look at these gourd-ful sites for inspiration, tricks, and how-to tips. You can even learn how to grow your own pumpkins (spoiler alert: lots of sun, water and fertilizer).
Punkin Chunkin: The Official Sport of Autumn
Fall may be dominated by football but at the tail end of October another sport takes the country by storm: Punkin Chunkin'. Pumpkins are hurled through the air by a variety of means from slingshots to catapults to pneumatic cannons in competitions around the country.
The oldest and largest annual competition is held by World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) in Sussex County, Delaware just after Halloween. Teams compete for 3 days in various divisions based on their mechanical method. There's even a theatrical division which relies completely on fan votes.
Many factors go into the range achieved by the flying gourds: mass, shape, size, pitch, elevation and, of course, the weather. Also a factor is the variety of pumpkin since the rinds must be thick enough to withstand the force of the hurling. As a standard rule, pumpkins must remain intact during the launch and flight, otherwise they are branded "pie in the sky" – which happens to be the title of the book endorsed by WCPCA.
The current WCPCA world record is held by Team Young Glory III who air shot a pumpkin 4,383 feet in 2008. In 2008, the Science Channel began airing annual specials. Coverage expanded over the subsequent years as the specials have become the highest rated program on the channel. Several DVDs and digital downloads are also available. Visit PunkinChunkin.com