My kids and I are always looking to add a little Disney to our everyday lives and Halloween gives us one really fun opportunity to do so. We do it by carving our Jack-o-Lanterns in the likeness of Disney characters. You just need a few special tools, some creativity and some patience and you’re on your way to a (somewhat) professional looking Disney pumpkin.
The first tool that you need is a “Pumpkin Gutter” – we use this one, Dakota Pumpkin Gutter & Carving Tool, that attaches to a cordless drill. This provides you a mechanical way to scrape the interior walls of the pumpkin to loosen the “guts.” Don’t worry, the guts still need to be extracted so your kids won’t miss out on that classic childhood experience. This tool also enables you to thin the walls of the pumpkin to make it easier to carve. Be sure to watch the video for the gutter on the Amazon site to learn how to properly use the tool.
The second tool that you need is a good carving tool. The steak knife you used as a kid just won’t cut it (pun intended). I like to use this one: Brass and Walnut Pro Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit as it is a bit more heavy duty than the plastic ones you find in the grocery store. The downside here is that it is kind of expensive so I only bought one. Unfortunately this means the kids have to (not so) patiently wait for their turn to use it.
The next thing you need is a template or stencil for your desired character. In the past we’ve use pulled most of ours from this page at mommymusings.com. You can find others with a simple image search, or, if you’re a good artist, you could make your own or convert pretty much any cartoon image into a stencil. After deciding on a stencil you must print it so that it comes out in an appropriate size for your pumpkin. This may require a little trial and error. With the stencil in hand the next step is to wrap it around the pumpkin as best as you can (you may have to fold it in places) and tape it in place.
Once the stencil is securely in place the next thing I do is take a small nail or push pin and “trace” all of the stencil lines with holes poked through the paper and into the pumpkin. This task is somewhat tedious so it is better to have some spooky Disney music playing in the background for singing and dancing. Once you’ve poked all round the stencil you can take it off but be sure you did the whole thing because it will be impossible to line it back up perfectly. Next you take a sharpie and draw the stencil image onto the pumpkin by playing dot-to-dot with your poked holes. Finally you get out the carving saws and cut along your lines. During this step it is best to work from the inside (the more delicate parts like the eyes) to the outside borders.
Rather than poking holes with the push-pin you may be able to cut out the stencil on the paper first with a razor blade and then trace the stencil onto the pumpkin – but the hole poking method is something that the kids can do without too much fear of injury.
Have you carved a Disney Pumpkin? What has been your favorite character? Who looks best when pumpkin-ified? Leave a comment below.