Halloween Pumpkin-Carving Tips From a Disney Design Pro

Pumpkin Carving Tips from Disney
Walt Disney Parks

If you've ever visited Disney World during the Halloween season for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you've been dazzled by the creatively carved pumpkins that line Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom park.

Want to learn to carve a pumpkin just like a Disney pro? Lon Smart, an artist for Disney Parks who designed and carved many of those pumpkins, recently shared some of his go-to pumpkin-carving tricks in a Disney how-to video. Some of his top tips include:

  1. Plan on paper. Sketch some design ideas on paper before you begin and experiment with different emotions, such as angry, surprised, or frightened.
  2. Use a dry erase marker. Before you start carving, draw your design on your pumpkin with a dry erase marker so you can easily erase mistakes.
  3. Get a good knife. Use a good kitchen knife instead of the lower-quality knives that typically come with carving kits. Kids should never carve a pumpkin without adult supervision.
  4. Shuck the top off. Instead of a sawing motion, use a shucking motion to remove the top of your pumpkin. Create an entry point for the knife tip and then pull firmly in short bursts.
  1. Undercut the shapes. "It's easier to take away than add," said Lon, who advises undercutting a shape and then going back if necessary and making it larger.
  2. Be careful. Always move the knife away from you, never toward you.
  3. Get creative with lighting. Instead of candles—which can be a fire hazard—use blinking battery-operated bike lights, electric tea lights, or colorful glowing light sticks to brighten up your Jack O'Lantern.
  4. Add personality. Give your pumpkin extra character by adding acrylic paint, glue-on googly eyes, or accessories, such as hats or scarves.
  1. Use a template. The team at Disney have created some great pumpkin-carving templates that can be downloaded: Angry Donald, Dracula Mickey, Happy Minnie, and Scared Mickey. Three additional templates can be downloaded here. Each varies in level of difficulty, from an easy Skeleton Mickey, to a moderate Princess Anna from "Frozen," to a complex Dr. Facilier from "The Princess and the Frog."

​More Pumpkin Carving Tips

  • How to Carve a Halloween Pumpkin
  • Ready-to-Use Pumpkin-Carving Patterns

​Pumpkin-Carving Supplies

Pumpkin (available at grocery stores and farmers markets)
Dry erase marker
Kitchen paring knife
Blinking bicycle light
Light sticks

More Disney How-To Halloween Tips