10 Tips for Perfect Jack-o’-Lanterns

Need a stencil for your Jack-o’-Lantern? Print one of our 27 pumpkin carving patterns.

10 Tips for Perfect Jack-o’-Lanterns©2009 Jupiterimages Corporation


  • 1.

    Never carry your pumpkin by the stem.

    It’s part of the visual allure, and if it snaps, it can accelerate the pumpkin’s rotting. Always carry the pumpkin from below.

  • 2.

    Store your uncut pumpkin in a cool, dry place.

    Once pumpkins ripen, they will deteriorate fast, and heat and light speed up the process.

  • 3.

    Wash the exterior of the pumpkin well before carving.

    Use a solution of 1 gallon water and 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach. This will help prevent mold.

  • 4.

    Draw your pattern on paper, or use a pumpkin-carving template.

    This is easier and cleaner than drawing right on the pumpkin, and makes revisions a snap.

  • 5.

    To transfer a pattern to the pumpkin,

    cut it out and adhere it to the pumpkin with masking tape. Then either use pinpricks to mark the shapes and lines on the pumpkins, or use a craft or utility knife and cut through the design to score it on the surface.

  • 6.

    Don't just think of face designs.

    Moons, stars, cats, and witches are all fun and easy to do. Using a drill to make patterned light holes is a wonderful idea as well.

  • 7.

    Seriously consider buying a pumpkin carving kit.

    Often they can be found for just a few dollars. Kits usually contain small scoops and serrated saws that aren’t commonly found in the typical toolbox. They work terrifically well when doing detailed carving work.

  • 8.

    When cutting out your shapes, always use a sawing motion.

    Go slowly and gently. A small serrated saw is best for the detail work. Never try to cut your pumpkin with a straight-edge razor, using force; you’ll damage the pumpkin, hurt the knife, and possibly cut yourself!

  • 9.

    The more pumpkins in your display, the better.

    Four or five small pumpkins in a row have much more visual impact than one large one.

  • 10.

    If scraping out a pumpkin is too much hassle for you,

    consider buying a hollow acrylic or craft pumpkin. These are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to their realism and their ease in carving. Yes, you carve those soft plastic pumpkins just like a real one; most are made to be about 1/4 inches thick, with inside colors that match a real pumpkin. And they last forever, meaning jack-o’-lanterns for next year!

Step-by-Step Pumpkin Carving Guide

12 Free Printable Pumpkin Carving Stencils

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.