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Learning how to carve a pumpkin well was always something I wanted to learn.

by Holly

I love a well carved pumpkin! Here at Kids Activities Blog, we have explored several no carve pumpkin techniques this season, but I thought it would be fun to revisit our pumpkin carving class.

Last year, my three boys and I went to a pumpkin carving at Central Market with a pumpkin carving expert courtesy of TXU Energy.

This is what we learned:


  • When you select a pumpkin, choose one that has a smooth skin with less bumps because it will be easier to carve.
  • Use a saw or knife with saw teeth to make initial cuts.
  • Cut the top at an angle so it won’t fall into the pumpkin.
  • Cut a notch in the top so it is easier to find the proper placement of the lid.
  • If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin guts, break out the gloves!
  • Scoop out the guts with a spoon or scraper.
  • Once you locate the side of the pumpkin you will be carving, smooth the inside shaving it down so the depth of the pumpkin side is 1/2 inch. You can use a marked toothpick to measure depth {be sure to place toothpick in an area you plan on cutting out}.
  • Cut your pattern out in a circle with slits along the sides so you can mold it close to the pumpkin.
  • Use tape to fasten the pattern.
  • Smooth the pattern top to bottom and then left to right.
  • Use a poker to mark the pattern with dots. The closer together the dots, the more finer the cut.
  • Rub flour on the pumpkin to expose the dots.
  • Cut along the dots from the INSIDE of the pattern to the OUTSIDE. That will keep the structure with the most support.


  • One of the best pumpkin carving pattern tips I learned today is to use Elmer’s glue to affix the pattern on the pumpkin.
  • The night before you plan on carving, spread a thin layer of Elmer’s glue on the back of the pattern and then mold it to the pumpkin side.
  • Allow it to dry overnight.
  • This will allow you to skip the step of using the poker to make dots on the pattern. You will be able to use a saw or knife directly on the pattern.
  • Once you are done with the pattern, you can remove the remaining glue/paper with warm water.
  • Be sure to use a copier/printer to size the pattern appropriately for your pumpkin size.


  • Obviously if you are carving pumpkins with kids, you will need to be supervising them CLOSELY. Even the pumpkin carving kits that have safer tools are rated for kids 12+. They completed many of the non-cutting steps including the pattern poking. The pumpkin skin is pretty tough so it wasn’t difficult to talk them into letting me cut after they had tried it for a little while.
  • Lighting a pumpkin can also be a hazard. Using a LED light instead of a candle can not only eliminate a fire hazard, but can help keep your pumpkin fresh longer. We used Sylvania’s Dot-It lights for our pumpkins.


  • If you read Heather’s rotting pumpkin experiment, you know EXACTLY the answer to this question! Generally a carved pumpkin will last 3-4 days.
  • You can increase the life expectancy of your carved pumpkin by spraying the cut edges with PAM or rubbing them with Vaseline.
  • Spraying the pumpkin occasionally with a spray of bleach and water can decrease the bacteria which causes the rotting process.
  • You can also wrap a carved pumpkin in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge.

My kids and I attended the TXU Energy blogger event and were sent home with our pumpkins and the LED lights to light them along with a few other goodies. Check out TXU Energy’s information on Energy Thieves.