How to Carve the Best Pumpkin on the Block

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To make sure your ghost is ready for Halloween, follow these tips.

While Halloween may look a little different this year, there’s no reason you can’t still have an amazing exterior display. If you’re not interested in spending big bucks for a 12-foot animatronic skeleton, or if your style is more fall chic than gothic blood, you have plenty of options when it comes to the traditional ghost. Before cutting your sacrificial pumpkin, take a look at these top tips for making a chisel display.

Pumpkin selection

There are no rules as to what size or shape creates a great lantern. Each pumpkin can rise to a sad size. Look for a pumpkin that is not bruised and has no mold around the stem. Who wants to cut a rotten pumpkin? Also look for a pumpkin with a flat bottom that will sit firmly without a cradle.


Every job is facilitated with the right tools. A kitchen knife is not the best – or safest – thing for pumpkin carving. You can get a set of pumpkin carving tools at many hardware stores or pharmacies around Halloween, but you can also use things already in your possession – electric drills, guys, wooden hollows or even cookie cutters. Don’t forget a big spoon to take out the courage!


Instead of giving a hat to your ghost by cutting it up, draw a circle on the bottom of your pumpkin and cut your opening there, making sure to angle your blade to the center to create a ledge to support the finished cut area. Clean the courage (save the seeds and roast them for your chopped food!) And scrape the inside of your pumpkin until they are about an inch thick in the places you plan to carve. If you are using a template, record it and convey it with a tracing tool. Then you are ready to carve! If you are using a pumpkin saw, it is easiest to keep the pumpkin on your knees, holding the saw like a pencil and by constantly moving it up and down. Seen at a 90-degree angle with gentle pressure.


Al to prolong life from your jack lantern, sprinkle it with water and keep it in the refrigerator until it does not appear. Spread some Vaseline on the cut edges so that they do not dry out. If your pumpkin starts to shrink, soak it in cold water for a few hours. Let it be revived. Just make sure to dry it well inside to avoid mold. You can also expel mold and insects by spraying or soaking the pumpkin with a water-bleaching solution.


If using a candle, cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin to the back to act as a chimney for smoke and heat. A candle will be safer if you drill a hole for it. You can also use battery-powered LEDs, Christmas lights or even night light to illuminate your pumpkin. If you carve a drawing on the back of your ghost, you will produce a shadow effect on the wall behind it, making it extremely scary!

However you choose to carve your lantern, use your creativity and have fun.

Beyond the ghost

For simpler and more ghostly outdoor decorating ideas, check out these fun Halloween hacks.


Originally published in October 2014.

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