Pumpkin carving tutorial - picture of pumpkin being carved.

Are you ready for Halloween? No spooky season porch is complete without a scary-cute jack-o-lantern. Pumpkin carving is one of our favorite Halloween traditions and we want to share it with you. Create the perfect pumpkin with this easy tutorial.

Here’s what you need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Stencil
  • Small serrated knife
  • Newspaper (or any material you don’t mind getting messy, such as an old tablecloth, magazine pages, etc.)
  • Spoon or scoop
  • Large bowl
  • Dry-erase marker
  • LED lights or candle

You can find these supplies at most stores or online.


  1. First things first, you need to decide what design you want to carve. Not all designs work on every pumpkin. Find a design you like and see if it will fit on your pumpkin’s unique shape before you start carving. You don’t want to run into a potential roadblock later. Check out our printable stencils below for inspiration.
  2. Now that you’ve found a dreamy design, it’s time to prep your pumpkin and work space. Lay down newspaper or other material you don’t mind getting messy, and lay out all your tools. Next, place your pumpkin over the space and trace your design with a marker on the area you want to carve. If you’re not the greatest at drawing, it’s best to use a dry-erase marker so you can start over if you mess up.
  3. Cut a lid on top of your pumpkin. Do not cut completely vertically, or else the lid will fall into the pumpkin. Angle your knife towards the center of the pumpkin.
  4. Remove the pumpkin filling (or guts, as I like to call them). Use a large spoon, scoop, or your hands for the tricky parts. Place the filling into a bowl and scrape the sides of the pumpkin for any remaining stubborn strands.
  5. Carve your design. Go slow, you don’t want to hurt yourself or make a mistake!
  6. Congrats! Your pumpkin is carved! Pat yourself on the back for your hard work. All you need to do now is light your pumpkin. We prefer LED lights, since they’re safe and simple. If you choose to use a real candle, just don’t leave it lit overnight.

Printable Carving Stencils

You’ll love these spooktacular free stencils we’ve created just for you! Simply download and print.