Lowe's Home Improvement
FREE PARCEL SHIPPING on Qualifying Orders

Carve a Jack-o'-Lantern

Learn how to carve a jack-o'-lantern freehand or create spooky effects on your pumpkin this season. Trick-or-treaters are certain to be impressed.

three carved pumpkins in orange and white

Freehand a Jack-o'-Lantern

Carving freehand doesn't restrict you to the traditional triangle and circle cuts. Get as creative as you like. The key is to plan ahead, sketching out your jack-o’-lantern design before you take up the knife.

Step 1

Choose the smoothest side of your pumpkin for the face and sketch your design on the pumpkin with a marker.

Step 2

Cut an opening in the top of the pumpkin large enough for your hand to fit through easily. Instead of trying to cut a perfectly round top, draw and cut out a six-sided lid. As you cut, angle the knife toward the center of the pumpkin to make a ledge that will support the lid. Make a notch in the lid so you can remove it easily.

Step 3

Scoop out the insides of your pumpkin, scraping the inner wall with a spoon until it's no more than an inch thick.

Step 4

Using a pumpkin carving tool, or small serrated knife, carve the smallest interior features of your jack-o’-lantern’s design first. Carve the inside lines of each feature before carving the outside lines.

Good to Know

Cut straight into the pumpkin, not at an angle. To make sharp corners, always remove the tool, and reinsert it at another angle.

Step 5

When you finish cutting, gently push out the pieces from the inside.

Step 6

Before you place a candle in the pumpkin, cut a hole in the bottom the same diameter as the candle. You can also place a small battery-operated light in the pumpkin.

Step 7

If you use a candle, remove the lid, or make a small hole in the top of the pumpkin with a drill so most of the heat can escape. This will make your jack-o'-lantern last longer.

Caution

Never leave a burning candle unattended.

Stencil a Jack-o'-Lantern

Stencils allow you to easily create intricate jack-o’-lantern designs. You can use many of the same tools for carving freehand, or you can purchase a jack-o’-lantern carving kit.

Step 1

Select the paper jack-o'-lantern stencil of your choice and attach it to the smoothest side of your pumpkin using pushpins.

Good to Know

You may want to trim the edges of the paper to fit the unique curves of your pumpkin.

Step 2

Use the punch tool (nail or pushpin) to punch through the stencil along the outline. Smooth down the stencil as you work to keep it in place. Complete the entire pattern before removing the stencil.

Step 3

Remove the stencil (keep it for reference).

Step 4

Use the knife to cut out the jack-o’-lantern design. Carve the inside lines of each feature in the pattern before carving the outside lines.

Step 5

When you finish cutting, gently push out the pieces from the inside.

Step 6

Before you place a candle in the pumpkin, cut a hole in the bottom the same diameter as the candle. You can also place a small battery-operated light in the pumpkin.

Step 7

If you use a candle, remove the lid, or make a small hole in the top of the pumpkin with a drill so most of the heat can escape. This will make your jack-o'-lantern last longer.

Caution

Never leave a burning candle unattended.