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How to carve a pumpkin

Follow our step-by-step guide, so you and your family can master the pumpkin carving skill.

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How to carve a pumpkin.

Like an eerie mist, the spooky season is descending. Get in the spinetingling spirit with a spot of pumpkin carving and whip up some Halloween treats to munch along the way. Plus, check out what other Halloween goodies we've got.

What you need to carve a pumpkin

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So, you’re going to need a few tools:

  • Pumpkin, of course!
  • 2 knives – one large and one small
  • 1 large spoon
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 pen or marker
  • 1 tea light
  • Your stencil

Our carving kit comes with no sharp tools – perfect if the little’uns are getting involved too.

Printable pumpkin stencils

If you’re feeling brave, free hand it! We respect your confidence. But if you’re perhaps a little less creative and need a helping hand, here are some easy pumpkin carving ideas to spark some inspiration. Click on each face for a printable pumpkin stencil.

Choosing your pumpkin

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Keep it classic, and creepy of course

  • When it comes to pumpkin carving, picking the perfect pumpkin is part of the fun!
  • We’d recommend deciding on a design before choosing your canvas, as some require a large, smooth surface, and for others, the lumpier and bumpier the better!
  • There's a few different types of pumpkins aside from the big orange brutes that you could go for. Crown Prince squashes are bluish-grey giving a ghostly feel, and Japanese Kabocha squash are flatter and green, giving Frankenstein feels.
  • P.S Did you know the largest pumpkin on record was a hefty 2,300 pounds?!

How to carve a pumpkin

Next, just follow these spooky steps to create your creepy character...

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Step 1

  • Using the larger knife, cut off the top of the pumpkin.
  • Make sure to cut it at an angle. If you cut with the knife vertically, the lid will fall inside.
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Step 2

  • Take your spoon and scrape out the insides and transfer to your bowl.
  • Make sure that all the seeds and fibres have been removed and you’re just left with the hard shell.
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Step 3

  • Choose the side you want your design to be on.
  • Then you can either free hand your design, or, use your design as a stencil and draw around it.
  • This may be a better option to nail the dimensions and symmetry.
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Step 4

  • Grab the smaller knife, it’s time to get carving!
  • Just make sure you cut away from yourself to prevent any accidents.

Step 5

You’re finished! All that’s left is to pop your tea light inside, light it, replace the lid, then put it in position ready for those terrifying trick-or-treaters.

How to carve a pumpkin like a pro

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Foods you can carve that aren't pumpkins

The trend to carve other foods is on the rise. From wicked watermelons to petrifying pineapples, there’s a whole range to choose from. Here are some eerie alternatives.

  • Watermelons
  • Squashes
  • Pineapples
  • Peppers
  • Oranges

If you're looking for a challenge this season, why not take a stab at one of these pumpkin carving ideas. Click on each face for a printable pumpkin stencil.

Pumpkin recipes

Pumpkins don't just look good when carved, they taste delicious too! Granted they probably aren't a first choice that pops into people's minds when it comes to cooking, but we can assure you, with some of our recipes, you'll whip up a yummy, scrummy meal that'll become an autumn family fave.

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Spider web pumpkin soup

Cosy comfort food to warm the cockles on a chilly autumnal night.

Total time required: 1hr 5 mins

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into small wedges
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 1.25 litres vegetable stock, made from 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, to serve
  • 4 tsp crème fraîche, to serve

Method

Step 1: Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft.
Step 2: Add the pumpkin and garlic. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, half the stock and the sugar. Cook for a further 35-40 mins.
Step 3: Add the remaining stock and bring to a simmer. Take off the heat and use a hand blender to blend until smooth. Ladle into mugs and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds or swirl over the crème fraîche to serve. To add a fun spider-web design, spoon the crème fraîche into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Pipe a spiral on the surface of your soup and pull the tip of a knife from the centre of the spiral to the outer edge a few times to form a web shape.

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Pumpkin seed, black treacle and ginger squares

Everyone will be obsessed with these deliciously gooey sweet treats.

Total time: 50 mins (plus cooling)

  • 3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 175g butter
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tbsp black treacle
  • 100g dried ready-to eat apricots, chopped
  • 250g porridge oats
  • 2 balls stem ginger, chopped

Method

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Tip the pumpkin seeds into a small baking tray and toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes, then set aside to cool.
Step 2: Melt the butter, sugar, ground ginger and treacle in a large pan, stirring until melted. Take the pan off the heat.
Step 3: Tip the apricots, oats, stem ginger, 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds and a pinch of salt into the pan and stir to mix.
Step 4: Transfer the mixture to a 20cm x 20cm shallow loose-bottomed tin. Top with the remaining pumpkin seeds and bake for 30 mins. Cut into squares while warm, then leave to cool in the tin before serving.

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