How to Design a Pumpkin

by Lena Freund
Carved pumpkins are a staple of the Halloween season.

Carved pumpkins are a staple of the Halloween season.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

In the northern half of the United States, fall begins around October, when temperatures start to drop and leaves transform from green to shades of red and gold. Pumpkins are a staple of an American fall and the most popular symbol of Halloween. In that month, it is not unusual to see carved pumpkins on doorsteps with lights lit or flashing inside. Designing a pumpkin takes very little, as pumpkins need not be intricate or artistic to be festive and fun.

Items you will need

  • Design inspiration
  • Stencil or pattern
  • Permanent marker
  • Sharp knife
Step 1

Decide on a face to carve into your pumpkin. This face can be human -- inspired by a friend or relative or popular culture icon -- or it can be the face of another symbol connected to Halloween, such as a cat or a witch. Alternatively, your face need not be a face at all. Some more artistic pumpkin decorators will carve designs, such as a witch on a broomstick into a pumpkin.

Step 2

Take inspiration from pumpkin design sites if you are at a loss as to what to do with your pumpkin. The website "Extreme Pumpkins," for example, offers many different pumpkin designs and patterns. Another website called, "Zombie Pumpkins" offers tips for carving phrases and characters into pumpkins.

Step 3

Draw the design onto your pumpkin before you carve it. To do this, use a permanent marker in a dark color to ensure that you can see the design well as you are carving it. Use a stencil if you have one or do not feel comfortable drawing freehand.

Step 4

Use a sharp knife to cut the top of the pumpkin off. Then, remove all of the insides of the pumpkin. You can save these and make pumpkin soup, bread or cookies from them.

Step 5

Carve the design into your pumpkin once the inside has been cleaned out. Always keep your other hand resting on the back of the pumpkin as you carve; this will steady your carving hand and help avoid slips and injuries.

Tips & Warnings

  • While lighting your pumpkin is not strictly necessary, no one will be able to see your design from the street if it is not lit. To avoid fire hazards, use small LED lights instead of candles in your pumpkins. Feel free to dress your pumpkin any other way you see fit. For example, if your pumpkin displays a witch's face, feel free to place a witch hat on top of the pumpkin for extra effect.
  • Do not let young children carve pumpkins or handle carving knives. Ask someone else to carve the pumpkin if you are not comfortable handling a sharp knife. Knife injuries can be serious and thumb injuries could impede your hand coordination forever.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images