How to Carve a Pumpkin with a 2-Year Old

The hardest part of carving a pumpkin with a 2 year old is keeping them interested in the task at hand. Getting your kid excited about work is not easy. The wife and I attempted to carve a pumpkin with our offspring, and we learned a few things. Here is THE step-by-step process on carving pumpkins with a toddler like mine.


Pumpkin - Medium sized.
Carving Kit - Includes stencils and an easy way to carve a great looking pumpkin.
Dry Erase Markers - Allows your child to draw their own design.
Trash Can - Keep it clean, ‘cause it will get dirty.
Candle/Tea light - Light the night.
Coloring supplies/books - Just in case your child gets bored or impatient.
Snacks - A fed kid = a well-behaved kid.
Stickers - Other forms of entertainment/distraction.


Have your child choose the pumpkin at your local pumpkin patch or supermarket. Once they find their pumpkin, have them carry it.
Make sure it’s not TOO big. You’ll be doing most of the carving, so try and keep this process easy as pumpkin pie. We, however, will not be making any pie.
* My daughter tried to pick a pumpkin she could not carry, let alone pick up. She cried. She settled for a VERY SMALL pumpkin…too small to cut. We swapped it out for a standard size. She cried.


You can purchase your own pumpkin carving set with detailed drawings guaranteed to make your jack-o-lantern the best on the block. Make it simple by choosing an "easy design.” Remember, you’re working with a child. It may not be wise to carve a pumpkin that takes two hours to finish. You can also use a dry erase marker and design your very own funny/spooky face.
Make sure your kid has had a bite to eat or a nap before starting as this will keep their attention and maintain a positive attitude.
* Once we started my daughter wanted the carving tools, aka "toys”. She insisted on holding ALL of the carving tools and would not return them until she had a chance to use each piece of equipment. I kept the knife. She cried.


Open and clean your pumpkin. This is where all the dirty work happens. When handling a knife, (even though the pumpkin kits are designed to be safe) always talk to your child about safety.
Encourage your child to dig out the pumpkin seeds with their hands. Don't force your kid if they are squeamish, it may ruin the experience. Most likely it will be you scooping the pumpkin out, while your child avoids the "yucky". Ask your child questions about the process because they WILL get bored. “Where do you want to cut?” “Would you like to draw on the pumpkin?”
* My daughter would not touch the slimy center. We offered cookies, ice cream, and popsicles, but she wanted nothing to do with it. She screamed for mercy when we applied her hand to the pumpkin so we let her skip that part… And then she cried.


Scrape it out and make the walls smooth. This is the hardest part and, unless your child has super strength, I am pretty sure you’ll have to muscle through this process. Your child will probably want a snack by this time or a new activity. Ask the child which side they would like to draw the face.
* By this time my daughter had abandoned our carving adventure for the classic movie Hocus Pocus. I sat her back down to finish. SHE CRIED.


The best part is seeing your creation come to life. Once you have carefully cut your pumpkin, place a small candle/tea light inside, turn out the lights and enjoy some hot cocoa and cookies.
* My daughter enjoyed watching the pumpkin light up our yard. She enjoyed blowing out the candle and re-lighting it again and again. Then, we told her it was time to go to bed…..she cried.
Try to keep the process fun and easy. Remember to take plenty of photos and videos and HAVE FUN. Even if your child throws a fit, record it and use it as blackmail later.
-Mike R

Posted on October 31, 2013 and filed under "Michael R", "fond memories", "halloween", "moving images", "storytelling".