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Pumpkins like a Pro

by on October 18, 2010

Jack-O-Lanterns are a symbol of Halloween. These carved, lit pumpkins are great decorations and can make your house look spooky and inviting. Follow these guidelines for how to carve your Halloween pumpkins like a pro!

Select the perfect pumpkin – The shape of your pumpkin should match the shape of the design that you are planning to carve, so plan ahead.  Make sure the pumpkin is smooth. It should not have any bruises, cuts, scratches, or dents. The pumpkin needs to be ripe, so if it is soft or the stem comes looses, it has started to rot. Also, never carry the pumpkin by its stem, because it could break. Make sure you keep your pumpkin moist so it doesn’t shrivel up.  

Prepare your workspace – Gather your tools. Your carving knives should be sharp, flexible, thin, and sturdy. You will need a long boning knife to cut large pieces, a small paring knife for the details, a pin or nail, and a large spoon. You can also buy a pumpkin carving kit sold in most grocery or craft stores for around $5, they work the best. Make sure you cover your work area with newspaper to avoid messy cleanup.


  1. Start by cutting a large hole around the top of the pumpkin. This will be the “lid”. Making the cut at an angle will help keep the top from falling through when you place it back on.
  2. Use a large spoon to scrape the inside of the pumpkin clean. Save the seeds to roast later. View our recipe!
  3. Draw a pattern for the design you want to carve on a piece of paper or print out a template. E-How and Hershey’s offer some great FREE templates to get you started. Tape the paper to the pumpkin and poke holes along the outline of the stencil.
  4. Then, use a paring knife to carefully cut along the dotted lines you just poked.
  5. Push the cut-out pieces out of the pumpkin. You can use leftover pieces to add more decoration, like ears, attaching them with toothpicks.
  6. After you carve your design, coat the pumpkin with petroleum jelly. This will lock in moisture and prevent the pumpkin from drying out.

Make it glow – Place a candle inside the pumpkin so it will glow. You can use tea-light candles or a votive candle. Never leave a lit pumpkin unattended, and make sure it won’t be knocked over.


To get started, visit a local Pumpkin Patch!
Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch – Double Oak Ranch, 5100 Cross Timbers Rd, Flower Mound TX 75028. Admission, parking, and activities are FREE. For more information, visit or call 817.430.4536.

Pumpkins on the Prairie – Grace Avenue United Methodist Church, 3521 Main Street, Frisco, TX 75034. Parking, admission and games are FREE. For more information, visit or call 972.335.2882.

Katie’s Country Market / Aubrey Pumpkin Patch – 736 Rock Hill Rd., Aubrey, TX 76227. $7.00 per person. Visit or call 940.365.2201.

How To Roast Pumpkin Seeds
You will need to separate the individual seeds from the pulp, but it is not absolutely necessary to wash or dry them. If you do let the seeds dry out, remember to reduce the raosting time to avoid over-cooking or burning. For saltier pumpkin seeds, let the seeds sit overnight in salted water or boil for ten minutes in salted water before trying to follow the recipes.

Simple Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:
Spray a baking sheet with no-stick vegetable spray. Spread the seeds evenly over the sheet and lightly spray again with no-stick vegetable spray. Roast in the oven at 300° for about half an hour, or until toasted to a golden brown color. Season to taste with salt, garlic salt, seasoning salt or Worcestershire sauce. For more recipes visit,
 Do It Yourself –

History Channel (they had an article on pumpkin carving) 

  Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

 Misc. blogs


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