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10 Extraordinary Carved Pumpkins Slideshow

10 Extraordinary Carved Pumpkins Slideshow

1. Famous Faces

The next presidential election is nearly a year away, so it's OK to show your party alliances on your pumpkin this year. Instead of carving out a scary face (well, maybe the face of Palin or Perry is terrifying for some), sculpt the countenance of a famous political figure, president (present or past, like Washington and Kennedy, left), vice president, first lady, or the candidate who lost.

2. Witch on Broom

What is Halloween without a witch? When armed with a fine, sawtooth carving knife, almost any image, good or bad, can be traced onto a hollowed out pumpkin. The trick is to make sure that the center figure is connected with the rest of the pumpkin, like the transoms of a window.

3. Snarling Dog

Are you a Halloween curmudgeon? This angry jack-o’-lantern is terrifying enough to keep young trick-or-treaters away.

4. Pumpkin on Bench

Looking to impress visitors on Halloween? Opt for a variety of carved squashes of all colors, shapes, and sizes. But be forewarned: You might need a garden scoop to carve out the inside of a giant pumpkin like the one at left.

5. Pumpkin Eating Pumpkin

Not confident in your carving abilities? Stick with a simple design, then add something creepy like a miniature pumpkin with a dried apricot for a tongue, left to set your creation apart from everyone elses on the block.

6. Devil Pumpkin

If you’re not up for carving out the inside of the pumpkin, instead carve a face into the front and supplement your design á la Mr. Potato Head. Consider the devil, at left, with colored eyes, a half of a red bell pepper for a tongue, and miniature devil’s horns.

7. Pumpkins in Hell

This is not your traditional carved pumpkin. Forget the face this year and instead use the hollowed out squash as a diorama, using mini pumpkins filled with LED lights and standing on toothpicks.

8. Giant Carved Pumpkin Face

Bring out the hammer and chisel. Some people take their pumpkin carving very seriously, like master carver and two-time Food Network Challenge winner Ray Villafane, and this gentleman at left.

9. Puking Pumpkin

This little pumpkin must have had too much candy before Halloween even arrived…

10. Lawn of Scary Faces

If two or four carved countenances aren’t enough to greet guests on Halloween, fill your entire front yard, like the family at left did, with tens of moaning faces sitting on a bed of hay. Then cue the spooky haunted house music.


  • Begin by choosing the right pumpkin. A perfect looking pumpkin is not the only subject for a jack-lantern carving, even green, bumpy, scarred pumpkins can be turned into fantastically featured carvings for Halloween. Look for a pumpkin with thick flesh. When choosing between two pumpkins of equal size, choose the lighter one which tends to have less flesh, as it will be easier to carve.
  • Design a pattern even before you even start to carve. Carving patterns can range from the usual jack-o-lantern to much more artistic Thai-style artistic carvings, as in this pumpkin carving project. Sketch out the plan on drawing paper to make it easier to follow.
  • Be sure to use a sharp knife and do not force the knife and over-carve your pumpkin. Many people cut themselves when trying to force a dull knife through the pumpkin flesh. Use our knife sharpener found here before you begin to cut.
  • When planning your design, just remember that you really don&rsquot have to cut all the way through the pumpkin flesh. There are really two different levels of pumpkin flesh that you can work with: the orange outside and then by shaving off the skin and carving the inner flesh a little bit you are giving yourself another whole level to work with.
  • First, wash the pumpkin with soapy water and rinse well. Dry with a paper towel. Use a water soluble pen so you can wipe the drawing off, if you like. Or you can use the dull tip of a knife to lightly etch in the pattern. See our super sharp knife here with blunted tip perfect for carving pumpkins.

View our slide-show how to make this Thai-inspired Pumpkin Carving Idea in 12 steps (javascript is required to view this slideshow):

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More pumpkin carving ideas:


You Too Can Carve Perfect Pit Bull & Corgi Pumpkins With the Right Template

Jack-o’-lanterns? We don’t need no stinkin’ Jack-o’-lanterns! When it comes to carving pumpkins, were all about the dog designs, baby. We love a good spooky pumpkin just as much as the next person, but it doesn’t get much better than immortalizing your favorite pet on the face of a beautiful gourd for the month of October.

You’re probably thinking, “Great! But uh, I do not have the skills to transfer my dog’s gorgeous face onto a pumpkin.” Well, good news, dear readers. We have created printable dog breed pumpkin carving patterns that you can use to create the ultimate display of doggy love this Halloween.

Click through the slideshow to find your dog breed, then download and print the patterns. Happy carving, folks!


Getting Started

Now its time to open up your pumpkin. Use your knife to cut a hole large enough that your hand can comfortably get in and move around. Be sure to make your cuts at an angle towards the center stem to create a shelf for the lid to sit on. With your lid removed, you can start pulling out the stringy, goopy stuff (save your seeds for roasting). Now take your scraping/scooping tool and start to work around the inside of your pumpkin. Use a little elbow grease so that you clean out any leftover mushy, stringy stuff, as well as thin the walls of your pumpkin to a point where they can be easily carved—about an inch or so.


Pumpkin Carving Ideas for Foodies


I have always loved carving pumpkins. As much as I love the candy and the treats, sitting down with a big pumpkin is still one of my favorite parts of Halloween. For years, I stuck to straightforward jack o’lantern faces until one faithful year when I decided to try to up my game by incorporating a foodie twist onto my pumpkins. Now, I’m not an extraordinary pumpkin carver like the people you see on Halloween wars, but that just goes to show you that anyone can infuse a little extra creativity into their carvings!

The I Vant A Cupcake features a Halloween creature that really wants a bite out of that cupcake. You get the sense that he knows there is a sweet filling inside waiting to be sucked out! I sculpted the cupcake, rather than carving the outline completely through the pumpkin, to give it a little more dimension. You can get the same effect by working with a small spoon, as well as a knife.

My Skeleton Reaching for a Cupcake is very straightforward, even though it does require quite a few cuts to put all of the bones into the skeleton hand that is reaching for that delicious cupcake. This is a great example of how to carve out a cupcake frosting and wrapper with no sculpting involved. Feel free to take some anatomical liberties with the skeleton arm to get the idea across. It’s all in fun at Halloween – it’s not surgery, so don’t worry if you miss a bone or two!

The Cupcake Black Widow Spider Pumpkin features another Halloween creature with a sweet tooth. She has a cupcake design partially carved into her back where you would normally see a red hourglass. You can carve the pumpkin out completely, as I did with the skeleton arm above, but you get a more subtle effect by shallowly carving the cupcake into just the surface of the pumpkin. Carve the cupcake first and put the spider around it for the best results.

If you prefer pie to cupcakes, try your hand at my Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin. This pumpkin design is very simple, since it doesn’t involve a traditional jack o’ lantern face, and the finished slice of pie shines through beautifully. It’ll put you in the mood for a slice of pie when you light it up, so be sure to have some on hand!

The final foodie pumpkin on this list is the Pumpkin-Craving Pumpkin. This pumpkin is a bit of a monster who has developed a taste for sweeter, smaller pumpkins. He is definitely scary (if you’re a pumpkin!) and I featured his story in the animated film below. If you try carving this guy, don’t forget to scale the mouth to the size of your smaller pumpkin so that it fits in neatly!


You Too Can Carve Perfect Pit Bull & Corgi Pumpkins With the Right Template

Jack-o’-lanterns? We don’t need no stinkin’ Jack-o’-lanterns! When it comes to carving pumpkins, were all about the dog designs, baby. We love a good spooky pumpkin just as much as the next person, but it doesn’t get much better than immortalizing your favorite pet on the face of a beautiful gourd for the month of October.

You’re probably thinking, “Great! But uh, I do not have the skills to transfer my dog’s gorgeous face onto a pumpkin.” Well, good news, dear readers. We have created printable dog breed pumpkin carving patterns that you can use to create the ultimate display of doggy love this Halloween.

Click through the slideshow to find your dog breed, then download and print the patterns. Happy carving, folks!


31 of Our Best Pumpkin Carving and Decorating Ideas

Over the past 30 years, our editors have imagined and made some of the most incredible pumpkins you've seen yet: whimsical creatures, spooky figures, and jaunty jack-o'-lanterns with funny faces.

You've mastered the toothy grin. Maybe you've experimented with eyebrows. But odds are you haven't given your pumpkin a hairdo, an eye patch, or a bow tie. Our templates for mix-and-match features are designed to help you up your game, providing just the right amount of guidance while leaving plenty of room for creative freedom. To start, download and print out your favorite templates, and play around with different combinations. Tape your chosen designs to the pumpkin, and start carving. Black areas on the templates indicate where you should cut all the way through, while gray ones mark where to just carve off the skin, allowing light to filter through moodily and giving your jack-o'-lantern even more depth of character.

Create a tree full of sharp-eyed owls. A den of hissing snakes. A bevy of sinister swans. Look more closely, if you dare, and you'll see that the creatures in these Halloween scenes are no such things. They're garden-variety gourds and pumpkins, dressed up for the occasion. All it takes is a carving tool, a coat of paint, and a can-do spirit to turn unsuspecting squashes from your local nursery into creepy crawlers that will wriggle and wing their way into a trick-or-treater's dreams. Or, what's the flip side of scary? Spellbinding. And that's where other Halloween ideas live&mdashin a land of dreamy woodland creatures and deep forests that's far more charming than chilling. Some are simple enough for little goblins to help with (like our fairy house pumpkin) others take a bit of skill with a carving tool (such as our etched woodland fox and bunny rabbit). But each is bound to bewitch. Mysterious autumn skies&mdashand all the things that sparkle, sway, and flutter across them after the sun sets&mdashinspired these spectacular pumpkins: a glowing etched moth, foreboding tree, or a night sky of stars.

Some are easier to create than your average jack-o'-lantern. (If you can glue it, you can do it!) Others are showstoppers in their own right. But each one is an opportunity to make your home shine bright on a cool Hallow's Eve.


The Epicurious Blog

If a picture&aposs worth a thousand words, then a blog post about extraordinary pumpkin-carving galleries has got to be worth millions. You won&apost find any generic grin patterns here, just totally original, mesmerizingly ambitious jack-o-lanterns captured on camera (because illustrations ain&apost worth a thousand words, either).

About.com&aposs Family Craft&aposs site shows pumpkins as spider, M&M, and burger (pictured).

Pumpkingutter.com displays jack o&apos lanterns as Statue of Liberty, ape, and kitten.

ExtremePumpkins.com boasts disturbing pumpkins images: Carrie, that familiar trucker lady silhouette, and a vomiting pumpkin (not for the faint-hearted).

TagyYerIt showcases the finest examples of carving I&aposve seen in the pumpkin arena.

Photos from each of these sites appear after the jump. If you&aposve got a great pumpkin on video, or any other Halloween-related scene, send it to us and we&aposll post it in our user-generated section. For everything else you might need on the 31st, visit our Epicurious Halloween Guide featuring recipes, party ideas, a cool candy slideshow, mad-scientist cocktails, and homemade sweets.



Bonus pic below: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it&aposs a Barack-o-Lantern from one of many flickr accounts dedicated to pumpkin prowess (this one from artful pumpkin).


Pumpkin Carving Tips from a Decoy Master’s Daughter

When Jess Pahl was young, her father, Lowcountry decoy carver Tom Boozer, passed on his love of whittling to his daughter—only her preferred medium was slightly different than his: Instead of wooden ducks, she carved pumpkins. “I have always loved carving them,” Pahl says. “I’ve done everything from haunted houses and forests to owls.” In the beginning, she learned to carve using Boozer’s buck and fillet knives (the larger blade to pierce and remove large chunks, the thinner blade for precision cutting and detail work). Over time, however, Pahl perfected her own technique, and graduated from hunting and kitchen knives to a set geared specifically for pumpkins. But, she says, the knives are only half of the equation when it comes to carving. How you approach your design—and what you do to preserve it after—matter just as much. Here are Pahl’s five tips for rendering an expert-looking, longer-lasting pumpkin this Halloween.

1. Don’t just wing it. Unless you’re a skilled artist, freehanded cuts are tricky. Instead, trace your design onto the outside of the pumpkin in pencil, then use the point of a knife or even a nail to make tiny dots along the lines. “That way,” Pahl says, “when you carve, it’s just like connecting the dots.”

2. Embrace the shade. Whereas the cut-out portions define your design, the shaded areas lend texture and detail and amp up what Pahl calls “the spooky effect.” To shade, simply cut through the pumpkin skin and peel back the outer layers without cutting all the way through the pumpkin wall. (Further scraping the inside of the pumpkin after you’re done will ensure maximum light shines through.)

3. Dunk your pumpkin. After you carve the pumpkin, submerge the entire thing in a bucket filled with one gallon of water and one teaspoon of bleach. Then, allow it to dry upside down. The bleach solution will kill bacteria that cause the pumpkin to spoil and discourage any new gunk from growing.

4. Seal the edges. When you’ve finished dunking and drying your jack-o-lantern, grab a tub of Vaseline. Yep, that’s right. Swiping Vaseline along the carved edges not only helps your design pop, it also keeps your pumpkin from drying out prematurely.

5. Keep it fresh. You know those little silica gel packets that come in the bottom of shoeboxes? The ones you usually throw away? Well, don’t, Pahl says. They are essentially mini dehumidifiers, absorbing all the moisture around them. Drop one inside your pumpkin (staying well away from any flame) to further prevent mold growth and keep your masterpiece fresh for the duration.

At top: We used Jess Pahl’s tips to carve our own Good Dog pumpkin.


9 Painted Pumpkins for A Carve-Free Halloween

Who said carving was the only way to decorate pumpkins? When we're short on time or simply don't want to make a mess, it's great to know there's an option that doesn't involve scraping out mush. Get straight to the decorating with a festive painted pumpkin that's carve-free and kid-friendly. Painted pumpkins are eye-catching, delicate, and can often allow for a little more creativity. We gathered an array of painted pumpkin ideas that truly capture the Halloween spirit. From bright designs and notable neutrals to celebrity lookalikes and spooky creatures, we have just what you need for a carve-free Halloween. The best part of painted pumpkins is that you can display your autumn art just about anywhere without worrying about a mess. From your front porch steps to your holiday table, these pumpkins are ready to be the star of your fall display. So forget the mess and grab a brush this season.