Halloween hack: Cut the jack-o’-lantern hole in the bottom of the pumpkin

Amazon: Pumpkin carving tools Give Rob a pat on the back for this brilliant pumpkin-carving hack! So smart.

We learned a couple of years ago what we think is the best idea for carving a pumpkin: cut the hole from the bottom not the top. If you cut a hole in the bottom it serves several purposes:

  1. you can cut at an angle to help the pumpkin stay straight (if you have an odd shaped pumpkin).
  2. you can put the candle on the bottom without risking burning your fingers as you light it from above!

It helped us a great deal, and we have converted quite a few people at carving parties the last couple of years!

More: Easy Halloween tips


  1. Kelly says

    All I can say is, “DUH!” I wonder why we never thought of that before! What a brilliant idea–smart, logical, and simple!

  2. Parent Hacks Editor says

    Kelly: My sentiments exactly. I feel that way every day after reading so many of these smart parent hacks.

  3. Richard says

    Another hack I just heard about:
    if your jack-o-lantern is starting to dry out, submerge it in water for a few hours and it will look fresh again.

  4. Jill in Atlanta says

    Doesn’t it char the inside of the top? I always leave the lid off to let the smoke out and I guess I thought I could catch it on fire if I didn’t. Am I just a worry wart?

    I do slice the bottom flat as needed.

    And make all cuts angled so the shape is larger looking at it from the inside than from the outside. It lets more light through that way.

  5. Rob says

    We’ve never had the top burn, but we use short, stubby candles. We found they burn longer than tall ones.

  6. Jill in Atlanta says

    Natalie: The best newborn costume I ever saw was a pumpkin carved like a baby swing with leg holes cut into it. So, in response to your question, I’d estimate the size of my baby’s tush and find a pumpkin he can sit inside!

  7. gfox says

    I know a lot of people who cut the back out of the pumpkin. Doesn’t solve the stability of an odd shaped pumpkin, but it does reduce issue 2 like the above hack.

    It also makes cleaning the inside out very easy.

  8. stepan says

    My pumpkins is often soft and runny by the time I get around to disposing of it (very gingerly), so a hole in the bottom is a no-no.

    I do always make sure to cat the top irregularly and with a notch so that I know how it’s supposed to line up.

    I’ve thrown carving parties for the last ten years. Always lots of fun and an opportunity to do some creative baking. I usually make Gingerbread Skeletons, Ghost Rolls and Severed Fingers Cookies.

    http://www.nonplus.net/photos/?album=04-00-00_Pictures_from_2004/04-10-23%20Gingerbread%20Skeletons&image=IMG_4030 http://www.nonplus.net/photos/?album=04-00-00_Pictures_from_2004/04-10-30%20Pumpkin%20Carving%202004&image=IMG_4078

  9. JT says

    Best thing I learned about carving: to do an intricate design, use a sharp-pointed tool to poke tiny holes in the shape of your design (instead of drawing a line, or along lines you’ve drawn). Breaking through the tough skin this way will make it much easier to cut the pumpkin.

    We do a Frank Zappa pumpkin every year, in my husband’s honor. Last year, he made a baby pumpkin for our little one — just a little face, with a pacifier in its mouth. It was priceless.

  10. Sarahlynn says

    Great tip! I’ll definitely be passing this along to the pumpkin carvers in my family: tomorrow’s the big day!

  11. reen says

    This also solves the problem we have here in TX of the heat making the pumpkin mushy prematurely, and the top shriveling and falling into the pumpkin! I’d think it also makes the guts easier to clean out, because aren’t they mostly stuck to the bottom of the pumpkin? Smart hack all around!

  12. Rogers Place says

    Just don’t tell too many people. It will leave em’ wondering how we got the candle inside