A favorite Halloween tradition for almost every child is carving pumpkins. But the same really can’t be said for adults. As kids, we just saw the fun of carving a super spooky or smiling face but as adults, we see a giant mess. Pumpkin “guts” and seeds are sticky, gooey and dry rock hard, making them a challenge to clean up. Plus we never seem to have the right tools to thoroughly scrape and carve up the pumpkins. And, carve too early and your pumpkin rots before All Hallow’s Eve. Never fear, we have the solutions to all these problems so you can make your next pumpkin-carving party a smashing success. 

Prep The Area 

The more time and effort you put into prepping your carving station, the easier the clean-up will be. Set up folding tables specifically for carving. If the weather is warm, carving outside is ideal. If not, be sure to put down plastic, similar to what painters use, on the floor before setting up your table. Cover the table in newspaper and set out a couple of big bowls to hold seeds and “guts,” at least two per table. Lastly, place wet wipes and paper towels or clean cloths nearby to quickly clean sticky hands.  


Ask your guests to bring their own pumpkins. Not only can buying a pick-up full of pumpkins be expensive, but you have to haul and carry a pick-up full of pumpkins. Asking guests to bring their own means they get to choose the size and shape they want and you get to concentrate on adding the extras to make them spooky fun. 

Choose the Right Tools 

There are a lot of opinions as to which pumpkin carving tools are best; some swear by pumpkin carving kits, others by regular kitchen tools or even power toolsFor sure you’ll need a large spoon, preferably with a serrated edge, to cleanly scrape the insides of the pumpkin. The longer the handle, the cleaner your hands remain. Serrated knives or keyhole saws work best to make intricate cuts for eyes and teeth. For those that are going for a less traditional design, a drill with multiple bits can make perfect holes to let a pumpkin’s inner light shine. 

Have Extras On-Hand 

A pumpkin isn’t a jack-o-lantern until it is carved and lit. Make sure to have tea lights and matches ready to light your guests’ creations. For those that need a little help in the imagination department, stencils are a fun way to carve. Many dollar stores sell these at great prices. Or bonus points for those that grabbed a stack for next-to-nothing the day after last Halloween. 

Preserve Your Pumpkins 

Once your guests complete their creation, take steps to make sure they last until Halloween. One trick is to cut a hole in the bottom, instead of the top, to remove the insides, allowing moisture to drain. Clean out as much pulp as possible. This may be frustrating, but excess “insides” will draw bugs and bacteria like moths to a flame. Soak the pumpkin overnight in a bleach bath, adding a small amount of bleach to enough water to cover the pumpkin. Rub exposed cut edges with petroleum jelly to seal.  

Follow these steps for a fun, mess-free, pumpkin-carving party. Go one step further and contact The Maids to help get the inside of your home clean and tidy so you can focus on setting up your party.  

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