Now we need something to light up. Tradtionally this has been a carved pumpkin, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve got a 3D printer, how about this amazing Voronoi Skull? With our “candle” inside it should cast some interesting shadows!
If going the carved-pumpkin route, you’ll need a design…either your own, or an internet search for “pumpkin stencil” turns up thousands of options, some free, some asking a small charge. Here’s a couple free ones I made that might get you started…
Both of these are designed with the “shallow carve” technique in mind, where one scoops away at the surface but doesn’t cut all the way through the pumpkin…they may work well enough for the latter, though you’d lose some smaller details like the dragon’s nostril or the werewolf’s slobber.
I tried out these foam craft pumpkins WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE A HORRIBLE IDEA. Fine for painting or for cut-through stencil designs, but nearly impossible to shallow carve! Real gourds are best for that.
PRO TIP: print out your design first and take it with you when selecting a pumpkin. This ensures the size and shape will work with the design…you might even find a gourd with one slightly flatter side for the art.
Various techniques can be used to transfer the flat art to the curved pumpkin…one could just “eyeball” it and redraw, or use a projector if available. Here I’ve scribbled on the back of the pattern with a soft pencil (6B), taped it down, then traced on the front with a ball-point pen to transfer some of the graphite to the pumpkin surface…this requires a bit of cleanup and re-interpreting bits of the art lost to creases.
I also learned that white pumpkins are a poor choice for shallow-carving. They look great at night with a light inside…but in daylight, the design just vanishes!
Adding some black paint salvaged the “day look” of the white pumpkin, making the design “pop.” I liked it so much, the orange pumpkin (which didn’t really need it) got the same treatment!