How to carve a Halloween Jack O'Lantern Pumpkin

24th October 2018

Halloween isn’t Halloween without a glowing Jack o’Lantern on your doorstep to encourage the neighbourhood trick or treaters. With Halloween becoming increasingly popular in Australia, you can now buy the American style pumpkins and carve a real Jack o’Lantern. Here’s how.


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What you need

  • A keyhole saw (available at Bunnings)
  • Fine carving tool (a clay or lino tool from the craft shop)
  • Ice cream scoop
  • Metal skewer
  • Sticky tape
  • 1 x American pumpkin (available at Coles and Woolworths)
  • 1 x face design (draw your own onto a piece of A4 paper)
  • a church or pillar candle

Start by cutting out a section in the top of the pumpkin for the lid. Use the key hole saw, working around the top in a circle and make sure you include a ‘notch’ for the lid. This will make it easier to refit the lid every time you need to take it on and off.

Once you’ve cut out the lid, trim back the inside flesh on both the lid section and the main section of the pumpkin using the keyhole saw. The thinner you can get the flesh interior, the better your Jack o’Lantern will glow. So try to scrape back as much of the flesh as possible without losing the structural integrity of the pumpkin.

Use the ice cream scoop to scrape out the seeds and flesh. You’ll need to keep working at this until you get a nice thin shell – alternately using the ice cream scoop and the fine carving tool to whittle away the inside of the pumpkin flesh.

Once you have the inside of the pumpkin nice and clean, you can start on the face.

Tape your face design to the front of the pumpkin and use a skewer to mark out the design onto the pumpkin’s surface.

Now use the keyhole saw and fine carving tool to carve out the facial features. At this point, depending on your design, you can also use a cordless drill to carve out smaller holes.

When that’s done, you’ll need to make one more hole in the bottom of the lantern for the candle to sit inside. The lantern will be placed over the top of the candle, so make sure the hole is big enough to comfortably fit the candle.

Now light up the candle, place the lantern over the top and put Jack out on the doorstep.

Trick or treat!

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