Pumpkins: A No-Fear Guide To Carving

In the build up to Halloween, we’re focusing on Pumpkins! From jam to soup and back again, there’s no end of healthy recipes worth trying. But there’s one thing that you’ll always have to get done first, and it can be messy… and stressful… and fiddly… and fun…
Well have no fear! Dig out an apron, roll up your sleeves and get ready to slice, dice and sculpt a masterpiece, following our five step guide to carving pumpkins!


Try to find a pumpkin with a flat bottom, so it won’t roll away. Like people, pumpkins come in different shapes and sizes so be sure to pick out something suitable. Unlike people, a sturdy green stem and a clean orange hue are sure signs of good health.

As a general rule: the brighter the colour, the softer the flesh.


Don’t try to improvise the Mona Lisa, or you’ll really scare the children! Draw out a simple design and trace it onto the skin using the tip of a knife. You can always cheat, and print out something if you’re really struggling.

To show off your artistic skills, you could shave sections of pumpkin to give it a two-toned glow!

Dig In

Cutting the lid (or decapitating) a pumpkin is thought to be the trickiest part, especially if you’ve gotten fond of one another. But don’t let emotion trump your safety: take care using sharp knives! Cut in at an angle, so the lid will sit snugly on the top, and set it aside. Scoop out the seeds by hand and, if the flesh is soft enough, you should be able to do the rest of the hollowing-out using an ice-cream scoop.

Aim to leave just over an inch of flesh and you’ll avoid too much trouble at the next stage – most people don’t take out nearly enough!


Use a sharp knife, a steady hand and the utmost care to cut out sections of skin, following your design.

You’ll have more control over what you’re doing if you sit the pumpkin on your lap, though this does entail some sustained eye contact.

Make Do

Accidents can happen. And if your creation starts going a bit Picasso, just remember to adapt and not give up! An eye goes wrong? You’ve got yourself an ear… An ear wrong? Could it be Pumpkin Van Gogh?

If all else fails, turn it around and try the other side… or paint a melon orange and start over.