DIY: Carved Pumpkins, Day of the Dead Style!



We’re getting excited about fall weather and fall holidays here at Earthbound! In typical EB fashion we’re celebrating not just Halloween but the Mexican traditions of the Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos. On November 1st and 2nd, many families will visit churches and cemeteries to remember their lost loved ones. They will make traditional gifts of sugar skulls, candied pumpkin, and pan de muerto (bread of the dead).

Follow along with our Do-It-Yourself sugar skull pumpkin carving project and celebrate with us!

Set of 3 Large Templates (7.5″x7.5″)
Set of 3 Small Templates (5″x5″)


1- pumpkin – After carving our small pumpkins we concluded that larger pumpkins are easier for this project!

2- pumpkin carving kit or set of tools – We used an x-acto knife and linoleum carving tools ($7.42 from Dick Blick art supply) but there are many (many!) cheap pumpkin carving kits with mini saws and hole punches at your local grocery or party supply store.

3- black sharpie.

4- clear tape – nothing heavy duty, you just want to hold your stencil down.

5- x-acto knife or fine-tip scissors  –  just pick whichever you will find easier for cutting fine detail.

6- stencil (and access to a printer to print it) – there are many to choose from online, or you can print one of ours!

7- tealight candle.


1- Prepare your pumpkin! Cut the top off and scrape out the guts and seeds. We found it looks best to have the edge of the “lid” as far from the carving area as feasible, rather than being centered on the stem.

2- Print out the stencil you need according to the size of your pumpkin – We printed ours on cardstock so they would be a little more sturdy.

3- Cut out black areas on the stencil with x-acto knife or scissors.

4- Tape the stencil onto your pumpkin. The design will be more visible at a distance if the face is higher, rather than lower on the pumpkin.

5- Outline the cut out areas in the stencil in sharpie – Since you’re using a flat stencil on a round surface you may need to hold your stencil against the surface of the pumpkin as you trace.

6- Remove the stencil and begin carving! Remember that your sharpie lines were all drawn in the inside of the stencil holes, so you can carve just outside of the sharpie lines. Otherwise follow any specific instructions on your carving kit. Thinning the wall of the pumpkin where you are planning to carve from the inside may be helpful for thicker pumpkins.

7- When you are finished carving, light your tealight candle and lower it into the pumpkin. Tongs may be useful for this!

8- Turn off the lights, oooh and ahhh.

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