Pumpkin carving is one thing that will get anyone in the Halloween mood! Whether you’re carving something simple with your little ones or entering a carving competition, we’ve got the right tips to carve one of your best pumpkins yet:

Tip #1: Safety First

When the time comes to carve your pumpkin, understand that there are sharp objects involved and accidents can happen. By following the precautions below, you can decrease the chances of an injury winding you up in the emergency room:

  • Use the right tools – Never improvise carving your pumpkin with kitchen knives. Prepare for carving ahead of time! Invest in a pumpkin carving kit - you can purchase them online and in convenience stores, they are designed specifically for carving your pumpkin safely.
  • Carve Your Pumpkin With Its Top On – It might sound taboo, but if you cut your pumpkin from the bottom to scoop out all of the innards you can use the stem as a stabilizer while carving. This will help ensure you don’t cut your hand from holding the pumpkin on the inside while carving.

Doing this makes it easier to light up the pumpkin as well, you can just set the pumpkin right on top of the candle. An even safer option would be to use a battery operated light. Unattended candles aren’t as safe and can burn out rather quickly, while a battery operated candle can achieve various lighting effects for a longer time!

  • Clean, Dry and Bright Carving Space – Make sure the area you are carving is a well-lit, clean and dry area. You don’t want someone to reach for a tool and accidentally cut themselves from not being able to see the blade.
  • Don’t Leave Children Unsupervised – This is a must. According to the CDC finger/hand injuries accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries related to Halloween in 2015. Children 14 or younger should always be supervised.

For carving safety, let your child draw their pattern and clean the pumpkin out with their hands or a spoon – but make sure an adult actually carves the pumpkin.

Even though older teens might think they have pumpkin carving under control, be sure an adult is at home while they do it. If you let them do it on their own, it is best to be present in case of an emergency.

  • Learn First Aid – If someone gets a cut while carving a pumpkin, you should apply direct pressure using a clean, dry cloth. If bleeding persists for more than 15 minutes, it’s time to go to the emergency room or urgent-care clinic.

Tip #2: Wait to Carve

You can pick out the perfect pumpkin whenever you want, but wait to start carving until you’re ready to put it on display. Typically a carved pumpkin only lasts three to five days - or up to two weeks if you live in a colder climate. If you intend to display your piece of art for Halloween, you shouldn’t carve it at the beginning of October.

Tip #3: Have a Plan

If you start carving without a game plan, you’ll likely end up with a chopped up pumpkin! Try drawing the idea of what you want to do on scratch paper. You can use your drawing as a stencil or simply as inspiration when you start the carving process!

Tip #4: Choose Your Tools Wisely

Be sure to use the appropriate tools for the appropriate tasks. Some tools make certain aspects of the carving process easier than others. For example, instead of using a small saw tool straightaway, you should use the potter hole tool to break up the outline for your saw.

Tip #5: Preserve Your Pumpkin for its Special Night

Nothing you do will add weeks to your pumpkin’s life, but you can make it last a few days longer by storing it in the fridge or somewhere else that is really cool – like near a cold window or in the garage. Use plastic wrap and set it aside until you’re ready to light it up!


We hope these tips help you create one of your best Jack O’Lanterns yet! If you’ve got any more secret tips for carving the best pumpkin, we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!

Amy Ingram Amy Ingram
Social Media & Communications Coordinator
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she is currently working towards an Associate in General Insurance designation.