Jack-o-Lantern - Cat
Jack-o-Lantern - Cat

Pumpkin Carving Tutorial

((PDRater and Jay Shergill are not responsible for any use or misuse of these instructions.  Please only attempt in well lit, well ventilated, area in the presence of trained medical professionals.  In fact, its really just better if you don’t do this at all.))

Last night I carved our Jack-O-Lantern.  It seemed a waste to not use the rest of that pumpkin real estate, so I carved one side into a cat and the other side as a skull.

Tools of the Pumpkin Carving Trade:

  • Apron
  • Sharp large kitchen knife
  • Sharp small kitchen knife
  • Wide rounded cheese knife (looks like a paddle)
  • Plastic bag (for pumpkin guts)
  • Chopsticks
  • Washable markers
  • Sandwich bag and flashlight or
  • Candle
  • Adult supervision
Jack-o-Lantern - Skull
Jack-o-Lantern - Skull


  • Wear apron.
  • Put pumpkin in sink.
  • Cut top out using large knife.  I prefer to make a jagged gut around the top.
  • Use wide paddle-knife to scoop out the insides into the plastic bag.
  • Draw your design on the pumpkin using the marker.
  • Cut out your design using the small knife.
  • Use the chopsticks to punch out any small pieces that don’t easily fall out.
  • When done carving, wash off any excess marker (you’re still in the sink, remember?).
  • Put flashlight in the sandwich bag, put the sandwich bag inside the pumpkin.


  • If you look at the skull carving, you’ll notice that both the skull and jaw appear to be free-standing.  The skull is still attached at the top and the jaw is attached at the two sides.  All you need to do is only cut part-way into the pumpkin in those areas – the light source will make it appear to be free-standing/floating.
  • Using the flashlight is probably significantly safer than a candle.
  • Consider adding water and dry ice to the pumpkin for a mist-like effect.
    • If you do, you’ll have to use the flashlight-in-the-sandwich-baggie trick.  As the dry ice sublimates, it will extinguish any flame by depriving it of oxygen.1234


  1. What, you didn’t know the word sublimate??? []
  2. Sublimate is the name for the process of a solid material converting directly into its gaseous state. []
  3. Since dry ice is just solid (frozen) carbon dioxide, it would basically starve any flame of oxygen. []
  4. Many fire extinguishers actually work by simply shooting carbon dioxide onto the target flame/heat source. []