Carved and Embellished Pumpkins

October 8, 2019

Whether you pick your own or buy them at the local Safeway, it never hurts to brush up on how and what to carve into a Halloween pumpkin! Especially when the craft requires a sharp knife and a lot of imagination! Here are some carving tips and a few inspirational ideas to take your toothy, grinning pumpkin face to the next level with a hairdo, eye patch or bow tie! Whether you carve, embellish or buy faux pumpkins, enjoy this ramp-up to the ultimate harvest season holiday!

How to Carve a Pumpkin

It’s not rocket science but since we only carve gourds once a year, this fun Halloween tradition is worth a little preparation before you start slicing up a Jack o’ Lantern face! The BBC’s first bit of advice — after choosing a large pumpkin — is to use a serrated knife to cut off the crown. After lopping off the top, scoop out the seeds and discard or save for roasting (along with some pumpkin flesh for pumpkin hummus!). 

For inspiration about faces – making fangs and teeth and cutting out eyes and noses — Dave Hax’s video is an oldie but a goodie. One of Dave’s suggestions is to use the stem for Jack’s nose. Another is to forget Jack altogether and make a pumpkin mirror ball with an electric drill. Dave also has a faux pumpkin craft idea for kids using orange ping pong balls and a sharpie.

While candles were once the way to light Jack up, now we use tea lights. Easy, safe illumination.

Martha’s Favorite Holiday

Halloween is one of Martha Stewart’s favorite holidays — she loves dressing up and getting ready for the big night with festive pumpkin décor and an annual costume extravaganza. Over the years she has published and posted lots of photos and templates for Jack O’ Lanterns and here are 31 of her favorites for pumpkin carving and decorating.

Using templates to up your game, Martha offers up moody and menacing faces, witchy portraits, and ideas for offbeat things like snakes breaking out of pumpkin “eggs” – full-moon pumpkins with jagged holes — painted white on the outside and black on the inside.

And who better than the queen of arts and crafts to inspire you with bejeweled, painted and découpaged pumpkins?  Here’s a collection of her spookier projects, night-watcher owls and spine-tingling bats to scary silhouettes of ghosts and goblins.

No-Carve Pumpkins

If you prefer to put away the knife and pick up the paintbrush, cruise through these 34 ideas from Woman’s Day for blinging your pumpkins. Add a little glitz and glamor with metallic gold paint and stick-on letter stencils, plus some googly eyes and magazine cut-outs from for quick and fun-loving, instant pumpkin décor.

Good Housekeeping adds pom-poms, glitter, spray-paint and more stencils giving pumpkins either a spooky, prettified and/or creative makeover with easy DIYs (think washi tape, melted crayons, hot-glued studs, lace and map tacks!).

Plus GH’s pumpkin seed recipes rock, too – if you do choose to pick up the knife!

Almost Halloween in Southshore

It about that time to be extra careful driving at dusk as the littles don masks and costumes for a tour of the best candy street in the master-planned community of Southshore! When Life at the Lake turns cooler, there are still plenty of things to do nearby. Check out the homes from Century Communities, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers — available in ranch and two-story designs, and priced between the $400s and the $700s.