Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins… they’re everywhere this time of year. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pies, family (or solo) trips to go pumpkin picking, and on many a front porch.
Not only are pumpkins a delicious and healthy food, they make great decorations as well. And they don’t all have to be spooky – some pumpkins can be cute, clever, or anything in between.
If you’re looking to have some fun this holiday season, we’re sharing 11 fun pumpkin carving ideas you can do yourself or with loved ones.
Who decided it would be a good idea to carve pictures into a gourd, anyway? There are a few different versions of the story, but folklore (1) tells us that they were used by the Irish to ward off evil spirits, particularly a wandering soul named Jack. In Ireland, demonic faces were carved into turnips, but when they arrived in America they carved them into pumpkins because they were native to the region.
While it’s exciting to jot down ideas and shop for pumpkins to carve, it’s not all fun and games. Carving pumpkins requires the use of sharp tools, and injuries happen every year. According to the ASSOH (2), keep these precautions in mind when carving:
- Carve in a clean, well-lit area
- Don’t carve alone, have a buddy nearby
- Leave carving to the adults
- Use a pumpkin carving kit
- A sharper knife isn’t always better
- If you injure yourself, get help immediately
Now that you’re physically and mentally prepared, let’s check out some creative pumpkin ideas.
Pumpkin Peepers: Make eyes at the neighbors by taking two small pumpkins, carving a hole in the front part. After removing the insides, paint two small, white pumpkins in such a way that look like eyes and place them inside the orange pumpkins! Carving simple eyelashes adds a dramatic effect.
Crazy Hair: If you have indoor potted plants around the house, this will definitely add some fun to the party. Simply pair up two to four small to medium sized pumpkins, carve the faces you want into them (make some girly can add extra effect), and remove the top part with the stem. Make sure the top hole is big enough for a dangly plant. Insert the plant inside the pumpkin and place it outside for all to see!
Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil: This classic threesome can be modified to fit your front porch decorations display. Take three small to medium pumpkins, carve out the eyes and mouths (different mouth expressions make this more fun), and remove the insides. Cut mini pumpkins in half and use the bottom portions for eyes. You can then use either skeleton arms, sticks, scarecrow arms or anything else you have to cover the “ears”, the eyes, and the mouth.
Pumpkin Family: How fun would it be to make a family of pumpkins? You can use one small pumpkin as the child, one medium pumpkin for the Mom, and two medium pumpkins for the Dad. Carve out elaborate features, such as a mustache, thick eyebrows, or a pacifier. For added effect, you can include hats, scarves, glasses and jewelry!
Snail Mail: This makes a cute indoor decoration, and will require both a white pumpkin and an acorn squash. Lay the white pumpkin on its side and, starting at the stem, carve a double-walled spiral that spins to the outer edges. Next, place your acorn squash next to it for the head and neck. For the eyes, glue pipe cleaners and googly eyes. You can add a letter next to it to finish the look.
Hungry Jack: Give your pumpkin a treat too by carving out eyes and a mouth. Cut the top parts off of a small squash and insert them in the eyeholes. Cut out teeth and use a toothpick to secure them (tip: the goofier-looking, the better!) Lastly, use a marker to draw a face on a piece of fruit or vegetable and place it inside the pumpkin’s open mouth.
Whoopsie Daisy: Pretty your pumpkin up with some flowers for eyes the bigger the better), pinecone petals for teeth, leaves and other colorful flora to make onlookers stop and want to take photos.
The Candyman: If kids come knocking at your door this holiday season, you’ll have an extra treat to give them with this carving idea. Simply carve out the face you want to have, remove the insides, and poke lots of little holes (about the size of a pencil) onto the top of the head. From there, insert different suckers and lollipops in the top for hair. You can also put candy in the pumpkin’s mouth for added appeal.
Zippadee Doo Dah: This pumpkin’s lips are sealed…well, almost. When you carve out the eyes, carve them extra big. You can place smaller round pumpkin tops inside, or leave them empty. For the mouth, carve out half of a mouth. Take a long zipper, glue or pin it onto the mouth, and unzip it halfway through, creating a “zip the lip” look.
Alien Invasion: If your kids are into space creatures, this could be a fun idea to try. Look for pumpkins with two stems (or just take one stem off one pumpkin and glue it to another for two antennae). You can carve one eyehole for a cyclops look, or add crazy curves for a wild-looking mouth.
Celestial Pumpkins: Harness the beauty of the night sky on some of your pumpkins. You can take one and carve constellations on them, with pinpoints and lines that connect the dots. Or you can make a beautiful moon mosaic by gluing dried beans into the shape of a crescent moon.
What About the Insides?
You may not need the “guts” for your pumpkin creation, but there’s no need to toss them out! Full of vitamins, minerals and fibers, here are some ideas (3) for the innards:
- Turn it into chutney
- Bulk up your breakfast
- Make pumpkin hummus
- Keep it for broth
- Puree the pulp
- Make a face mask
- Juice it
Pumpkins are especially plentiful around this time of year. A hearty gourd with lots to offer, pumpkins have been used in recipes and decorations for many years.
There are lots of fun carving ideas you can try this season. Be sure to take proper safety precautions, and if you want to save the insides for future recipes, you have a few to get you started.
Are you carving a pumpkin this year? Why not make an event out of it!
References & Disclaimers
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author