As summer winds to a close and fall kicks into high gear, it’s almost pumpkin-carving season!
Pumpkin carving is a fun way to spend time with your family while the weather is still warm enough to be outside. You can take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and make something that will last all season – assuming you’ve got the tools and skills that you will need to do it properly.
The guide will get you carving with the best of them. Let’s look at the best pumpkin carving tools.
Roundup of Best Pumpkin Carving Tools
- VIVREAL Halloween Pumpkin Carving Kit
- Halloween Haunters’ Ultimate Professional Lantern Kit
- Dakota Products Pumpkin Gutter Carving Tool
- Gimar’s 12-Set SK5 Carving Kit
- Warren Cutlery Pumpkin Carving Kit
Pumpkin Carving Guide
How to Start Carving Pumpkins
Pumpkin carving can be daunting if you’ve never done it before. However, as long as you have a plan of attack, you should be just fine.
There are many diagrams and designs available online for you to follow as patterns. However, the part you need to have prepared ahead of time are the tools.
For basic carving, all you really need is a sharp knife (preferably serrated as it carves easier), a marker, and a spoon.
If that’s all you have, the steps are pretty straightforward:
- Cut off the top
- Remove the seeds
- Carve your favorite design into the pumpkin’s “face”
Of course, I’m simplifying; the process can quickly get more intense depending on the detail work you put into your pumpkin.
Once you’ve finished carving, put a candle in the pumpkin and let it shine!
Finding a Good Pumpkin for Carving
Before you set out to grab a pumpkin, know that some pumpkins are better than others for carving.
Let’s take a look at what makes a good and a bad pumpkin for carving.
What Makes a Good Pumpkin for Carving
As a short list, here’s what makes a good carving pumpkin:
- A deep orange color – a pale or yellow pumpkin is a sign that the pumpkin hasn’t matured enough to be able to hold together too long after being carved
- A green stem – a green stem indicates the pumpkin’s health, which means that you’ll get to enjoy your Jack O’Lantern for a lot longer.
- Very few visible scars or holes – un-scarred pumpkins are easier to carve, and less likely to fall apart around blemishes
What Makes a Bad Pumpkin for Carving
Really, if you follow most of the above hints you’ll do well. Look out for pumpkins that are pale, sickly-looking, or already beginning to look dead right off the vine.
You also want to look out for warty pumpkins which (while increasingly popular) run a higher risk of making the carving knife skip and possibly injure you or your family.
Look for Good Pumpkin Carving Tools
In terms of carving kits, look for a kit that’s easy to use, high quality, low maintenance, and comfortable for your skill level. The best pumpkin carving tools may not be the most expensive, but as long as they fit your family’s needs, they’ll serve you well.
When hunting for pumpkin carving kits, beware of seemingly good deals on a used set of tools. As a rule, the sharper the knife, the safer—any kit that’s been used before is more likely to be dull and dangerous.
You also want to level your carving kits for your own skill level. While advanced kits are a lot of fun, it also means that there are many specialized little knives and scalpels that you have to track.
Why Does Tool Selection Matter?
Pumpkin carving is a great and simple way to spend quality time with friends and loved ones alike. And the tools you use to make Jack O’Lanterns play a major role in making that quality time safe and easy.
The best pumpkin carving tools are easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to store when they’re not in use. If you have to spend a lot of time cleaning up after each pumpkin carving session, it takes a lot of enjoyment out of it for you and your kids.
Similarly, when you’re cutting into a couple of pumpkins, you shouldn’t have to worry about your own safety or the safety of your loved ones. For that reason alone, it’s imperative that you find the best kit for yourself.
The Bottom Line: Carving is a Fun Family Project
As mentioned, pumpkin carving is all about spending time with those you love.
You’ll get messy, show off your ingenuity, and create something you can show off for the rest of the season. Quality time is so hard to find in this busy world… but that only makes those rare moments of family bonding all the more special.
Get your family involved with every step of the pumpkin carving project. If you have young children, let them pick out the design for all of the pumpkins (not just their own) and help them walk through every step of design, preparation, and cleanup!
Once you’ve finished carving your pumpkins, you’ll have a fun little memento of the time you’ve spent with your friends and loved ones. And that will last long after the pumpkins have been discarded.
Fun Tips and Tricks:
- Have a Cleanup Plan: make sure you lay out old newspapers or plastic bags before you carve. This saves time and effort once everything’s done and you’ve got a lot of pumpkin guts to clean up.
Map It Out First: use a marker or pencil to outline the design you like so you have a plan to follow once you start cutting. Some pumpkin carving kits have decals you can apply directly to the pumpkin to use as a guide.
- Try It Inside Out: it may be trickier, but if you carve from the inside out, you can get some really cool light effects that will really level up your Jack O’Lanterns!
Best Pumpkin Carving Tools Reviewed
There are so many awesome pumpkin carving kits available on the market today that you really can’t go wrong with most of your options. But when it comes to the best pumpkin carving tools, here are my favorites:
The quality construction and sturdy nature of the VIVREAL Halloween Pumpkin Carving Kit make it a good fit for families with small children who are looking to get a lot of mileage out of their pumpkin carving tools.
One of the major strengths of this kit is the wide variety of tools it provides for a reasonable price. With the multiple knives, carvers, scoops, and cutters, you should be able to tackle even the toughest pumpkin without any trouble.
VIVREAL also offers a complete money-back guarantee of their products’ quality, so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll have the tools you need.
- The twelve different blades and cutters allow you to get all of the broad strokes and detail you need without having to add extra pieces to your kit
- This is the most affordable kit on this list, but it’s still high quality enough that you don’t have to worry about shopping for replacements
- Most of the twelve tools are geared towards broad detail work, so the kit doesn’t really include a blade that’s fine enough to do extremely fine detail work without slowing down your pumpkin carving pace
- The blades are not serrated, which can be a problem if you need to make broad cuts on a particularly stubborn pumpkin, or if you’re working with a fake or foam gourd
The Halloween Haunters pumpkin carving kit may be a little more expensive, but it’s billed as a professional lantern-carving kit, and that professional quality really shows through.
Every blade in the kit is serrated, and all of the standard tools still feature a beveled edge that allows them to slice through some of the toughest pumpkins without breaking a sweat.
This kit also features more up-close, fine-detail work tools than the previous kit, so it’s perfect for pumpkin carvers with a few jack o’lanterns under their belt who want to take their pumpkin carving practices up to the next level.
- Greater range of scraping, scooping, and cutting tools allows for a greater range of expression on your Jack O’Lantern, and the high quality of the tools allows for a sharp, precise cut
- Despite their “professional” rating, the tools in this kit are still easy to use, which makes them a great fit for both beginners and professionals alike!
- Because all of the tools in this kit are so sharp, you may want to be careful using this set if you have small children or pets. Be careful with all of the tools, not just the knives
- The scoop is slightly smaller than standard size pumpkin scoops, which can make the process of removing the “guts” a little more time-consuming
The Dakota Products Pumpkin Gutter Carving Tool isn’t so much of a kit as it is a specific tool that can be vital when you’re starting to cut into your pumpkin.
If you’re excited to get carving, but the task of removing all of the seeds and strings from the inside of the pumpkin doesn’t sound so fun, a gutter like this can remove the inside of a pumpkin quickly and easily. Hook it up to a standard drill, and it will scoop out a pumpkin in no time at all.
The tool is dishwasher safe, so just rinse off some of the stringy, gloopy mess before you give it a wash, and you’ll be good to go!
- The process of cleaning out the inside of your pumpkin is probably the least fun part of carving a pumpkin, so this tool gives you a head start so that you can skip straight to the good stuff!
- This is especially good for families with small children, who might get grossed out by the prospect of pulling out handfuls of slimy, stringy pumpkin innards with their bare hands
- If you’re dealing with an especially stringy pumpkin, you may have to stop and clean out the gutter to keep it from getting too clogged
- The gutter should not be used to thin out pumpkin walls
Unlike the previous entries, Gimar’s 12-Set Carving kit wasn’t designed specifically with pumpkin carving in mind. As a result, this is an extremely sturdy set of carving knives that was honestly meant to be used to carve just about anything.
With a range of fine-detail blades that allow for a sharp, precise cut, this kit features a range of attractive, hard-working carving knives that will let you get every last bit of detail work out of your Jack O’Lantern.
Each blade is made of high-quality SK5 carbon steel that can slice even the toughest pumpkins to ribbons without having to hack away for hours.
- Extremely sharp tools and professional-grade construction mean that this carving kit has some of the most heavy-duty blades of any entry on this list, so you can keep them for years
- Because they’re designed for decorative carving, you can get some fantastic detail work, which makes this kit perfect for elaborate Jack O’Lantern designs
- As tough as the blades are, they can chip over time, so make sure you take the time to keep them sharp and ready for action
- These blades are specifically designed for carving, which means that you may have to buy scoops, serrated blades, and other tools in addition to the kit in order to have a full range of pumpkin-carving appliances
This last tool set differs from the other kits in that it functions more like a drill or multi-tool. Instead of having to juggle twelve or fifteen different tools, the Warren Cutlery Pumpkin Carving Kit lets you swap out a variety of pumpkin carving blades while still using the same handle.
With a selection of serrated blades for cutting through thick rinds and smooth scraping blades for fine detail work, this tool is probably the best knife for pumpkin carving. The brass and walnut handle makes it an attractive addition to your kitchen supplies that you can keep close on hand all year round.
- The blade on this carving knife is sturdy enough to slice through most standard pumpkins, and the serrated blade attachment allows you to carve real and fake pumpkins with equal levels of ease
- The tool comes with replacement blades, so even if you do meet a pumpkin that gives it a run for its money, you don’t have to worry about buying a new tool altogether
- The handle is prone to rust, so make sure you clean off the residue from your pumpkin as soon as you’re done using the blade
- The blades are also relatively short, so if you’re dealing with a massive pumpkin, it may take you a little bit longer to finish carving
Conclusion: My Pick for Best Pumpkin Carving Tools
Ultimately, any of the tools on this list would be great for your pumpkin-carving plans. However, due to its great value and full scope of use, my personal favorite kit is the Halloween Haunter’s Professional Pumpkin Carving Kit.
Unlike some of the other entries on the list, the Halloween Haunter set is good for both detail and wide-range work. All of the blades, scoops, and cutters in the kit are easy to use. In addition, they’re professional-grade quality tools and can be used year after year – you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck!