Let’s Carve Some Pumpkins!


Let’s Carve Some Pumpkins!

September 29, 2023

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Do you like pumpkins as much as we do?

It’s harvest time, so that means it’s pumpkin-carving season!

We here at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota love the fall season! The cool weather, the vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows of all the trees, jumping in leaves, and especially … pumpkins!

Carved pumpkins are a creative, fun fall activity.

You may not realize it but pumpkins are actually fruits, and they are part of the gourd family! They grow on long vines along the ground, and you can eat every part of the pumpkin except the stalk.  Pumpkins come in lots of shapes, colors, and sizes. Some are so small they can fit in your hand, and there are some that are so big that they are impossible to lift!

In today’s Recipe For Play we are going to carve our own pumpkins. So pick out a pumpkin big enough for our activity and either use one of our stencils or get creative and make one of your very own!

Pick Your Pumpkin and Get Set Up!

Gather Your Supplies:

  • A pumpkin
  • Printed out stencil or one of your very own, drawn on a piece of paper
  • Tape
  • Newspaper or plastic to protect the workspace
  • A tealight, or another way to light up your pumpkin (optional)
  • A pumpkin carving kit


  • Toothpick
  • A sharp utensil for cutting into the pumpkin
  • A metal spoon


Let’s Get Started!

1. With adult supervision, use a pumpkin carving tool to cut out a hole on the bottom of your pumpkin.

2. Scoop out all of the insides. (The seeds can be cleaned and roasted in the oven for a yummy treat!)

3. Tape your printed out stencil onto the face of your pumpkin.

4. Along the dotted lines carefully poke holes into the pumpkin to transfer the stencil.

5. Take off the paper.

6. Using the carving tool, carefully cut into the pumpkin along the poked holes.

7. Remove the cut out pieces.

8. After cleaning up, you can put a tea light or another source of light inside your pumpkin.

And now you have your own jack-o-lantern!

Play All Fall Long!

What other stencils can you come up with for other pumpkins?

Can you make a pumpkin that looks like a cat? How about a silly monster? Be creative with a design of your own or use one of our stencils!

We’d love to see what you make! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram and use #playalongsd.

Want to carve a Kidoodle or Dinosaur pumpkin?