Carving a pumpkin doesn’t have to be as daunting—or messy—as one may assume. After you pick your pumpkin at the local patch or store, follow these easy steps to turn your squash into a festive jack-o-lantern with minimal effort.
1. Cut a Hole in the Pumpkin
First, use a keyhole saw or sharp knife to cut a wide circle around the stem of your pumpkin. The hole should be large enough that you have ample room to clean out the inside of the pumpkin—more on that in our next step. Carefully remove the top, clean the bottom of flesh and seeds, and set aside.
2. Scoop out the Inside
Scoop out flesh, pulp, and seeds of your pumpkin with a large spoon, plastic scraper, or your hands. Be sure the inside is clear of all stringy sinews, as they can be flammable once dry. Set aside seeds, which are fun to bake and delicious to eat.
3. Make Your Design
Draw your design—or trace one from a template—onto the side of your pumpkin using a thick pen or marker. Make sure all lines are clear, thick and simple enough for you to carve.
4. Carve the Features
Carve along your lines with a small saw, blade, or sharp knife.
5. Light Your Pumpkin
Now it’s time to put the lantern in your jack-o-lantern. Place a candle with high glass walls in your pumpkin, or—for a safer solution—wrap a string of lights around a jar and place inside.