If you’ve been following along for a while, you might know that I am very fond of Halloween, costume-making and, especially, artisan pumpkin carving. In 2017, I brought you 11 jack-o’-lantern designs ranging from Charlie Blackmon to Union Station. Today, I’m happy to present 10 more for you.
Some best practices
- Pick a good pumpkin! It’s not always about the biggest gourd. I always look for a specimen with a nice flat side to it.
- Prepare the insides first. When you scoop out all that pumpkin goop, make sure to give a good scrape to the inside of the wall you’ll be carving. Especially if you’re going for the more complicated designs below, you don’t want to mess with more than an inch of pumpkin depth. Just be careful not to scrape so far that the design won’t hold up.
- Chart your design. I always draw straight onto my canvas with a marker, but if you’re using any of these designs, you probably aren’t going freestyle. For the easier patterns, I recommend printing them out, taping them onto the pumpkin and then using something sharp to poke holes through the paper. When you’re done, you’ll have a good roadmap for slicing your design. For the harder ones, I recommend cutting the design out with an X-Acto knife, taping the white sections to the pumpkin, then tracing right onto the pumpkin with a marker. Each of these illustrations is designed for you to cut out the black space; imagine those areas aglow with candle light.
- Grab the right tools. I’m really a big fan of those cheap-o carving kits you can buy at the grocery store. While a good paring knife will get some broader patterns done, the thin little saws are great at maneuvering around tight corners. It’s a good idea to start with the smallest, most intricate details first and go from there.
Thanks to Amanda Wessels for the suggestion!
Denver Public Library’s main branch
Thanks to Dana Franklin for the suggestion!
Andreas Greiner’s giant chicken
If you haven’t gone to see it yet, you should go to DPL and see it.
Undead Canada goose
Jared Polis’ sneaker
You should use a blue light instead of a candle in this one.
Thanks Rachel Estabrook for the suggestion!
I suppose this could be anyone who plays for the Nuggets. Thanks Dave Burdick for the suggestion!
Claude Monet’s Water Lillies
In case you haven’t had enough Monet this season.
The Wu-Tang Commemorative Gravel Pit
Here’s context, in case you missed our naming contest. Thanks Jamie Perkins for the suggestion!