Rice University logo
Top blue bar image The OISS Blog
Get the inside scoop on OISS

How To Carve a Pumpkin!

Here’s an illustrated guide on how to carve the most amazing pumpkin for Halloween, courtesy of our FISS Pumpkin Carving event.


Step 1: Choose a pumpkin. Any pumpkin. It should be orange and relatively round, but size is up to you. Bigger ones are better if you decide to use a template from a pumpkin carving kit (more details about this in step 5), but if you’re creative and carve by hand, a smaller one will also look very nice. The most important thing is that you are willing to fully commit to the pumpkin you choose.


Step 2: Get a big, sharp knife. The sharper the better, since this is where you will attack your pumpkin and cut out the top of your pumpkin. Remember that the top will go back and serve as a lid on your completed pumpkin, so it is a good idea to cut it at an angle. For a more professional look, you can cut the top into a special shape, like a zigzag, but any old hole on top will do.


Step 3: Clean your pumpkin. This part can get a bit messy, but don’t let it bother you. Just stick your hand in there and get everything out! The more thorough you are at this point equals how long you will be able to enjoy your pumpkin: the more stuff you leave inside, the sooner your pumpkin will begin to spoil and go bad. Remember that you can use the pumpkin seeds for cooking or baking!


Step 4: Now, if you didn’t make the hole big enough during step 2, you might get into trouble during step 3 and get your hand stuck inside the pumpkin while clearing out the seeds! Do try to get your hand out without making the hole bigger now, because otherwise your lid will no longer fit on top of the pumpkin. If all else fails, cut yourself free and tell everyone that your pumpkin got scalped!


Step 5: Choose an image to carve on your pumpkin. Creative people can carve their own designs, but pumpkin carving kits often have helpful templates that you can use. Either tape your template to the pumpkin or have a friend hold it, while you trace the edges of the picture with a sharp tool.


Step 6: Remove the template and, based on the tracing you just did, cut the edges of the pictures all the way through with an even sharper tool. Now you should be able to get out the pieces, after which you can see about making the edges a little nicer and more polished. Remember that Halloween pumpkins are supposed to look scary, so it doesn’t matter if your image is a little rough around the edges.


Step 7: Pose for pictures and show off your amazing pumpkin with pride!!


If you would rather not use quite so many sharp tools, you can always use paint and other decorations to create an awesome pumpkin!




~Written by Andy Meretoja, International Department Coordinator

Comments are closed.

Skip to toolbar