Carving a big pumpkin into a jack o’ lantern is one of those Halloween traditions that no one should ever grow out of. The spooky faces of those pumpkins generally indicate to kids that there is candy to be had nearby. For adults, carving those faces is a fun way to get into the Halloween spirit and get a lot more creative than you were as a kid. And having the opportunity to to toast a bunch of fresh pumpkin seeds while you’re carving doesn’t hurt either. I like to put a foodie twist on my pumpkins these days, rather than just sticking with the classic grinning jack o’ lantern face. Whether you start with a commercial pumpkin carving kit or are just relying on your arsenal of kitchen knifes, here are a few Foodie Jack o’ Lantern ideas to inspire you:
The first is the Skeleton Chef Pumpkin, pictured above. This pumpkin features a skull topped with a chef’s hat, ready to serve up a variety of tricks and treats to anyone who approaches. It’s a simple design, but it never fails to catch the attention of anyone who sees it.
Another skeletal design comes in the form of this skeleton hand reaching for a cupcake. The design is a little more detailed, with many small cutouts to represent the bones of the hand. Fortunately, you can take plenty of anatomical liberties when working with Halloween designs. Carve a little sleeve underneath the hand and it can double as a zombie arm!
The I Vant A Cupcake pumpkin just might be my favorite, showing a fanged face going in to take a bite of a succulent looking sculpted cupcake (that I would bet is full of cream. The cupcake doesn’t go all the way through the rind of the pumpkin, but is carved into it with varying depths to allow light to shine through and give the pumpkin some dimension. Another example of a sculpted pumpkin can be seen on my Black Widow Cupcake Spider Pumpkin, where I replaced the hourglass traditionally found on black widows with a big, sweet cupcake.
Tips for carving your pumpkins:
- Before carving, when you scoop out the interior of the pumpkin, thinner walls will be easier to cut through and it can be helpful to scrape the inside walls well with a large metal spoon.
- If you are planning on doing some pumpkin sculpting, however, a thicker wall can give you more room to work. You can always go back and carefully thin the wall later to let more light shine through your creation.
- Sketch out your design lightly in pen, or use a toothpick to “trace” along an outline with little pinpricks. It makes it much easier to follow your pattern, even if you end up tweaking the design later.
- Small, sharp knives with thin blades are usually the easiest to work with.
- Don’t worry if your pumpkin isn’t perfect! Chances are, it’ll look great no matter what (they’re supposed to be spooky, after all!) and you can always try again on a second pumpkin and carve the first into a more basic jack o’lantern to hide the evidence.