Happy Halloween everyone! As you probably know, Halloween is one of my favourite times of year. Although I grew up in Australia, I spent some of my formative years in the USA, which is why I believe Halloween is a justified celebration. In the States, we’d visit a pumpkin farm and pick the perfect pumpkin, just like hunting for the perfect Christmas tree.
Halloween is slowly becoming a recognized holiday in Australia and this year Coles, Woolworths and Aldi all sold carving pumpkins. I couldn’t contain my excitement and bought a pumpkin two weeks before Halloween. Inspired by a visit to Disneyland, where designers carved into the pumpkin’s skin without breaking through to the middle, I decided to put my rusty carving skills to the test.
While I was happy with the results, this method wasn’t as easy as I’d thought! So yesterday I attempted my second jack-o'-lantern, armed with the knowledge from my first effort. I thought I’d document my process as many people asked how I made the first Disney castle jack-o'-lantern. So read on for tips! :)
Find/create a stencil. I wanted to create Beauty and the Beast’s enchanted rose as it’s one of my favourite Disney films and the glass cloche would make for a perfect silhouette for the rose. Unfortunately, there weren’t any free stencils online so I had to make my own. I designed the below stencil in Photoshop from an image in the film:
Cut out the stencil and stick it onto the pumpkin with hobby glue. Some sites recommend drawing the stencil on the pumpkin’s skin with a whiteboard pen, this seemed like it could wipe off too easily. Hobby glue sticks well to the skin without sticking too well.
Time to cut off the top of the pumpkin! For this, I used my biggest knife, making sure to cut away from my hand. Note: make sure you cut on an angle so the top doesn’t fall back through.
The messiest part! Scoop out all the gunk from the inside. I mostly used my hands and a small ladle. This takes time and feels completely gross but it’s quite fun. If you have kids, this is the part they’ll enjoy!
Now onto the carving! Cut a section along the stencil with your smallest and sharpest knife. Create a small rectangle, making sure not to cut straight through the pumpkin skin—only around 3mm into the flesh. Next slide the knife under the skin. It will easily lift away, leaving some of the flesh underneath:
Continue cutting and lifting small sections around the stencil. Don’t worry if it’s not all the same depth—as some will lift easier and deeper than other sections.
When you’re finished cutting around the stencil, use a sculpting tool to scrape at the exposed inner flesh to smooth it out .
Remove the stencil and make any final changes and additions. I added the outline of petals so the rose didn’t look like a large blob!
Pop in a candle. And voila! Your jack-o'-lantern is ready for prime position in your home.
Did you make a jack-o'-lantern this year? What did you carve? I'd love to see pictures!