The Halloween Convert: How to Carve a Pumpkin

how-to-carve-a-pumpkin
I have a confession to make. And it’s a hard one to even say out loud, much less commit to the permanent record of the interwebs. I used to be one of those people who would eschew Halloween.

You know, that Australian who would loudly proclaim: “Why are there Halloween decorations in the shops? This isn’t America!”. That was me. How embarrassing.


It was all because I was a stubborn killjoy who thought it was embarrassing that tiny little Australia was trying to emulate America. Like when your little sister wears your clothes way before she’s old enough for them. It’s a little pathetic.

But now I understand. I’ve been through my first Halloween in the US and I’ve seen the light. Or the spooky darkness?

It holds a special place on the calendar – signalling the beginning of the downhill slope to Christmas and New Years’. It’s less than a month from Thanksgiving and a glorious four-day weekend!

It’s no secret amongst my family that I LOVE decorating for Christmas. Even when we were never home to see the decorations and putting the tree up was more hassle than it was worth, I’d still con at least one brother into helping me drag the tinsel out of the garage.

But Halloween adds a whole other level of fantasmagoricalism. I get to DIY why own decorations from scratch and devise a costume. Plus, I’ve carved my very first pumpkin.

Even though I’m writing this before I even begin carving, I already know it’s going to be a wonky disaster. But I’m proud of it anyway, because that’s how I roll.

For all those newbies out there who, like me, thought pumpkin carving was a pretty straight-forward task, I’ve put together a little “how to” to show you, that there a a few things you really need to know before you begin.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin

  1. Choose a pumpkin that’s got a relatively flat bottom so that it doesn’t roll around.
  2. Choose a simple pattern to begin with. I used Abner from The Pumpkin Lady.
  3. It’s best to use a serrated knife for the carving.
  4. Cut out the lid on an angle so that it doesn’t fall in when you replace it later.
  5. If you’re a fan of roasted pumpkin seeds, take those out first.
  6. Scrape out all of the stringy bits with a spoon. I found that the larger the spoon the easier this is.
  7. You can also use an ice cream scoop to remove some of the flesh on the side that you will be carving. This will make it easier to carve. I don’t have an ice cream scoop and I’m lazy, so I didn’t.
  8. Draw on your template. You can print it out and trace the rough outline onto your pumpkin using a knife. I’m lazy, so I didn’t.
  9. Hold the pumpkin on your lap – this makes the carving process easier.
  10. Be patient, go slowly and remember, you can always cut into the positive space, but you can’t take back the negative space, as Mr M helpfully reminded me.
  11. Clean up any stringy bits that are hanging down from the cuts you made.
  12. Place your candle inside and light it up!
  13. If you want the top on while your pumpkin is lit, put it on until you see a brown mark forming on the lid then cut a small chimney in that spot.
  14. Enjoy!
Linking up with Denyse Whelan for Life This Week. This is what my “two months to Christmas Eve” looks like! And also getting in on the Motivational Monday action!
Carve a pumpkin | pumpkin carving | first Halloween | Halloween for expats | Aussie | Expat | Aussie Expat in US | expat life
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10 thoughts on “The Halloween Convert: How to Carve a Pumpkin

  1. Not sure I'll worry about the pumpkin this year but I do have some lollies (candy!) on hand for next Monday. Trick or treating (and Halloween) is becoming more of a thing here but I've mostly lived in apartment building so never get any visitors, though am in a house this year so might….

  2. THIS is amazing stuff…I can't even cut up pumpkin for a baked dinner…although I think the ones for carving might be a bit softer. You have provided a true community service here!! I love that you are embracing the new celebrations for you and having fun along the way. Thanks for linking up for Life This Week! Denyse

  3. You're more organised than I am Deborah! I've got the pumpkin but zero lollies (I refuse to call it candy! heh) in the house. I should get some though, since I'll be at the dentist that evening and Mr M will have to deal with the trick or treaters alone.

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