My first Jack-o-lantern // Pumpkin workshop

Since it’s my first Halloween in the US, I wanted to do a “jack-o-lantern”, this carved pumpkin with a monster face. I’m supposed to leave it by a window or in front of my building so kids can came and “trick or treat” me, but I don’t know if kids are coming and I selfishly want to keep it inside my place. So here it is: my first attempt of carving a pumpkin and my own DIY…


Chariot de citrouilles
Tiny and cute pumpkins for 50 cts

First step: buy a pumpkin. Very easy: there are in every supermarkets. Since we recently spent a weekend in Vermont, we bought a big one and two cutties for a cheap price. We bought them on a farm, we had to drop money on a jar, there wasn’t any seller. Who would steal Halloween pumpkins? I’m sure you would be followed by some haunted spirits in case you tried.

Les citrouilles de Martha Stewart
Les citrouilles de Martha Stewart, la papesse de toutes les housewives américaines

Second step: find a pattern. I’m pretty clumsy with long knives (I would say in French that I have two left hands…) so I decided to keep it simple: two triangles for the eyes, and a teeth-less mouth, that should be enough for a first shot. I had a look a other patterns (all that I’ve found about Halloween is on Pinterest): some pumpkins were not done by amateurs. I’m sure that competitions should exist.


Third step: curve the pumpkin. Well, honestly, it’s not easy. Guess what? Pumpkin shell is hard to cut. First, I curved a “hat” to the pumpkin like if I wanted to do tomate farcie (stuffed tomatoes), then I emptied it, using spoon, knives and my own hands. I drew the face monstrer on the pumpkin, but my pen wasn’t working on it. And then it was on the beginning of the butchery-so-called-artistic-carving of the pumpkin. After a first sketch, I looked at it ant tried to do better with a smaller knife. Eventually I put two candles inside, but not real ones to avoid any useless fire at my apartment.

Décor d'Halloween
Halloween pumpkins in front of houses in Massachusetts

Fourth step: do a cute not too creepy Halloween still-life. My place is small, so the choice of “where I put my jack-o-lantern” isn’t really an issue. For smelly issues, I didn’t put it close to my bed, even if the light is pretty nice. I simply let my Jacky in front of the fake chimney. Thanks to this Vermont weekend, we had fall leaves and even tree bark – they were awfully rotting in a bag. And now they found a new life in my “Jack-o-lantern still-life”. That’s the magic of Halloween!

Roasted Pumpkin seeds
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Fifth step: cook the pumpkin. You can do mashed pumpkin, soup, etc. But what I learnt is that you can cook the pumpkin seeds! I boiled them and then roasted them with olive oil and tons of salt. Well, it wasn’t the best recipe of the year but I liked the salty crunch.

Jack-o-lantern was an Irish tall, about a drunk guy who wanted to fool to devil. When he died, his soul couldn’t go to heaven, neither to hell (he obviously sold his soul to the devil) and this Jack became a wandering soul… To remember this tale, Irish people used to carve turnips, and when some of then crossed the Atlantic, they carved the local winter vegetable: pumpkin (good for us, they are nicer).

Who did some decoration for Halloween?



Writer, organizer and social media-ter for my own blog. When I'm not in front of my laptop, I'm organizing guided tours of Boston with my own company "Boston le nez en l'air". It's in French! Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

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