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Carving knives are so last decade. From basic to extreme, we've got your Jack O'Lantern tool kit stocked. All you have to come up with are the bright ideas!

pumpkin carvingWhat makes pumpkin carving even more fun? Power tools! Photo: Joshua & Amber, Flickr

Halloween is approaching fast, and DIYers are already hard at work on cleverly carved pumpkins. (For a step-by-step illustrated guide, check out How to Carve a Pumpkin on our sister site, Holidash.)

Now's the time to grab your gourd and show up your neighbors with the best Jack O'Lantern on the block. The ambitious pumpkin-carver -- one who's not afraid to experiment with extreme design -- you'll need the best carving toolkit. If that's you, we've got some good news: there's a plethora of power tools and hand tools on the market that put the standard carving knife to shame. Here are a few of our favorites:


pumpkin carving toolsClockwise from top left: Pumpkin saw by Pumpkin Masters; Ice cream scooper by by Oxo; Carving tool by Pumpkin Masters (Photo: Amazon); Cookie cutters by Kaiser (Photo:

- The Scooper: You'll need to scoop out the pumpkin guts - and thin the inner wall of your pumpkin. You can use your ice cream scoop to do the job. A flat-edged ice cream spade, like this one from OXO, will do the job efficiently.

- The Saw: While this isn't kid-friendly, a battery-powered saw will speed up the process of carving your pumpkin. Pumpkin Masters makes one that you can find in many drugstores.

- Carving Tool: For all the fancy finishing details, like a toothy pumpkin grin, you'll need a special carving tool. Pumpkin Masters makes one that's a four-in-one carving tool.

- Cookie Cutters: Regular tin-plated steel circular cookie cutters make it easy to create a neat opening around the bottom of your pumpkin. (It's also safer to carve an opening on the bottom of the pumpkin, so you can set your candle on a flat surface and set your pumpkin over it.) You can also use cookie cutters of other shapes (think stars and moon) to punch out designs on your pumpkin.


pumpkin carving tools, Dremel, pumpkin gutterClockwise from top left: Melon ballers by Oxo (Photo:; Dremel cordless carving tool (Photo: Amazon); Linoleum cutter by Speedball (Photo: Blick), Hole cutter by Kemper (Photo: Blick); Power drill by Ryobi (Photo: The Home Depot); Pumpkin Gutter drill attachment by Dakota Products (Photo: Amazon); Wax transfer paper by Saral (Photo: Blick).

- Dremel cordless pumpkin carving tool: It's a two-speed, 6-volt rotary tool that comes with 10 carving templates - perfect for the ambitious carver looking to create an intricate design.

- Hole cutters: If you're carving a Jack O'Lantern with a lot of different holes (or polka dots!), a set of hole cutters will come in handy.

- Power drill: A typical drill is the easiest way to make small holes in your pumpkin, such as the centers of eyes!

Pumpkin Gutter: If you're the DIYer who loves to use your drill, here's an attachment for you. Attach this pumpkin gutter to your drill, and the attachment will loosen the pumpkin guts (just make sure you have a helper to hold your pumpkin steady for this high-powered tool.) You can also use this tool to shave down the inner wall of your pumpkin and make carving easier.

Wax transfer paper: You can trace a cool design onto your pumpkin using this transfer paper. It's a faster, easier method than using a toothpick to poke an image on the pumpkin's surface.

- Linoleum cutter: For accurate details and carved designs, a linoleum cutter is your best bet.

- Melon ballers: You don't have to carve all the way through a pumpkin to get that magical glow. Simply carving circular depressions in your pumpkin with a melon baller will shine when you place a candle inside.

Do you have any favorite tools for carving a pumpkin? Tell us in the comments!


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