7 Pumpkin-Carving Hacks You Need to Know

These TikTok hacks come from everyone's favorite grandmother, Babs Costello, so you know they're genius

Double, double, toil and trouble! With Halloween right around the corner, a classic All Hallows’ Eve activity is in full swing: pumpkin carving. There’s a long history to why we carve pumpkins. But that doesn’t mean we always carve them with ease, and carving can quickly turn messy (for kids and adults alike). Plus, pumpkins aren’t always simple to design or maneuver.

Cue everyone’s favorite grandmother, Babs Costello (aka TikTok sensation @brunchwithbabs), who has us covered thanks to some genius pumpkin-carving hacks. Babs never fails to break down the most challenging of house chores and activities and tell us exactly what we need to know. (Her guide on how to load a dishwasher the right way is a lifesaver!) As one TikToker asks in Babs’s comments, “How do you make everything easier?”

In other words, prepare to take notes on how to carve a pumpkin the Babs way. Because if Babs suggests something, it’s brilliant—and these pumpkin-carving hacks are no exception.

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The do’s and don’ts of pumpkin carving, according to Babs

As it is for many people, carving pumpkins for Halloween “is a treasured tradition in our family,” Babs says. Yet, she explains, yuck and mess can plague the process. Before resorting to no-carve pumpkin ideas, try Babs’s tips to “cut the job in half” for the perfect jack-o’-lanterns.

Take note: These hacks are no joke, and TikTok can’t get enough of them. Babs’s pumpkin-carving video has 4 million likes. Follow her suggestions, and your pumpkin carving will never be the same again—and that’s a good thing!

@brunchwithbabs 🎃Do’s and Don’ts of Pumpkin Carving 🎃It is a treasured tradition in our family to carve jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.  But with all the yuck and mess, sometimes my kids would quit the project before we even started.  Babs’ Do’s and Don’ts for Pumpkin Carving, saves the mess and speeds up carving so you can have the perfect jack-o-lantern with no mess and no fuss.  Happy Halloween 🎃XO Babs 1. Carve from bottom.  That way you have the stem to hold onto and you can easily slip the pumpkin right over a candle or flashlight. 2. Hold pumpkin in your lap to carve.  You will have a much steadier pumpkin to cut.    3. Use a red dry erase marker to sketch your design. It erases easily and if you miss a spot, it blends in. 4. Use a hand mixer to clean out your pumpkin. 5. Use cookie cutters and a rubber mallet to carve your design. 6. Cover all cut surfaces with Vaseline to keep the pumpkin moist after carving.  Pumpkins should last 1-2 weeks carved! 7. Sprinkle some cinnamon on the inside top of your pumpkin for festive pumpkin spice smell when a candle is lit inside the pumpkin.  🎃 #pumpkincarving ♬ original sound – everyone’s grandmother

Tip #1: Sit, don’t stand

First, advises Babs, don’t stand while carving your pumpkin. Instead, it’s best to sit. Carve the pumpkin resting on your lap for a steady work surface.

Tip #2: Cut out the bottom of the pumpkin

Babs hollows out pumpkins from the bottom rather than the top. This eliminates the hassle of trying to perfectly position a candle in the pumpkin. If you follow her directive, all you have to do is slip the carved pumpkin over a tea light. Plus, you can hold onto the stem while carving.

Tip #3: Clean out pumpkin “guts” with a hand mixer

Instead of cleaning out pumpkins by hand, use a hand mixer. The mixer does the heavy lifting of loosening the pumpkin strings. Then you’re free to scoop out the guts.

Psst! Don’t forget to save the seeds. You can roast pumpkin seeds for a snack later on.

Tip #4: Use a dry-erase marker to sketch designs

Switch out permanent marker for a dry-erase marker when designing pumpkins. Dry-erase markers (Babs uses a red one) erase easily, and missed spots can blend into the pumpkin. “You can get rid of the lines after you carve,” Babs says.

Tip #5: Carve pumpkins with a mallet and cookie cutter

Carving pumpkins with a knife is way harder than it needs to be. That’s why Babs suggests using a cookie cutter and rubber mallet to carve your design. Just make sure to remove the dry-erase-marker lines after you push out the carved pumpkin pieces.

Tip #6: Lengthen a pumpkin’s life with Vaseline

“Don’t let all your work go to waste,” Babs says. To fully enjoy carved pumpkins, cover the cut surfaces with Vaseline. This keeps the pumpkin moist and ensures it doesn’t dry out as quickly. With this simple hack, you’ll preserve your pumpkin for around one to two weeks—which is a lot longer than the three to five days a pumpkin usually lasts.

Tip #7: Scent jack-o’-lanterns with cinnamon

Create a fall-scented jack-o’-lantern by sprinkling cinnamon on the inside top of your pumpkin. Place the pumpkin over a candle for a pumpkin that not only looks amazing but smells wonderful too. It’s like pumpkin spice!

These hacks are total game changers

One grateful TikToker commented, “I was today years old when I realized I’ve been doing this the hard way my entire life!” Another raved, “Babs, you never fail to impress and teach me something new and inspiring.” And with hacks this good, we can’t help but agree.

If you need us, we’ll be carving pumpkins the Babs way all season long. Happy Halloween!

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

Jessica Kaplan
Jessica Kaplan is an assistant editor who has written lifestyle content for Reader’s Digest, Family Handyman and The Healthy. Her expertise includes travel and restaurant news. These days, she creates timely trend content for Taste of Home. When she’s not writing, Jessica is bound to be planning out her next trip, trying out a new coffee spot or listening to a podcast.