Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. Touch device users, explore by touch or with swipe gestures.

How to carve a pumpkin

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

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

Content Image

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

Content Image

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...

Content Image

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.
Content Image

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.
    Content Image

    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.
      Content Image

      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

        Content Image

        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.

        Content Image

        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


        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.

          Content Image

          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


          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.

            More spooky stuff

            Why buy at Argos?