How to carve a pumpkin step by step: best methods and face ideas

Published 16th Oct 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

With Halloween just around the corner, many of us will be picking our buying a pumpkin or two ready to carve on the night.

As the fruit has grown in popularity, replacing more traditional produce such as a turnip, people have turned to social media to show off elaborate and arty carvings.

If you are getting ready to carve a pumpkin this Halloween, here's a step by step guide along with face ideas and top tips for Instagram ready creation.

How to carve a simple face

What you'll need

A large and small serrated knife

A large spoon

A marker pen or face template

Tealight and matches


Take your large, carving pumpkin and cut off the top, about 5cm down from the stalk, with a serrated knife.

Using a large spoon, scrape out the seeds and fibres. Keep the seeds to be roasted for a tasty snack.

Either use a marker pen to draw out the face you want, or look online for some detailed templates.

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Then, using a small serrated knife, cut out the face shapes (remember the small pieces of pumpkin from this can be used in cooking).

Place a tealight in the pumpkin, light, then place the top back on.

Best online resources for templates

If you want to take things to the next level, and aren't much of an artist, head online for a range of templates which can be printed out and used this Halloween.

Pumpkin Pile is a free resource with categories such as classic, sports, films and superheroes.

Red Tricycle is another free resource, with templates of witches, Frankenstein and a sunflower.

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Zombie Pumpkins has over 400 designs, from kid-friendly to scary and for all levels of skill.

Pinterest is another great place to visit for inspiration on all things carving and Halloween.


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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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