Pumpkins with Scary Etched Silhouettes

This sideboard tableau intersperses luminous pumpkins with a decanter of wine, a stand with fruit, and other objects evocative of Edgar Allan Poe and his tales of horror.


To render the glowing silhouettes, we used two techniques: The bright candelabrum and goblet are cut through the pumpkins' walls, while the textured quill and skull are pared gently from the outer shells. Pumpkins of different hues, including white 'Lumina,' a green-gray 'Jarrahdale,' and burnt-orange cheese pumpkins, add tonal variety.

What You'll Need


  • Keyhole saw to cut the opening
  • Plaster scraper, fleshing tool, or sharp, sturdy spoon for scooping out the pulpy flesh and thinning the walls
  • Awl, for transferring the template patterns
  • Narrow-blade and wide-blade linoleum cutters for etching designs
  • Miniature saw for carving designs
  • String Lights
  • Glass jar
  • A template


  1. la102831_1007_pumpkinht1_hd

    Cut a hole in base of pumpkin with keyhole saw.

  2. la102831_1007_pumpkinht2_hd

    Scoop out seeds and flesh with plaster scraper, fleshing tool, or spoon; thin walls if desired.

  3. la102831_1007_pumpkinht3_hd

    Choose templates. Reduce or enlarge as needed, and tape to pumpkin. Using an awl, pierce holes along perimeter of template; remove to reveal pattern outline.

  4. la102831_1007_pumpkinht4_hd

    Using narrow-blade linoleum cutter, remove skin along perimeter of your design. Then use wide-blade cutter to pare away skin within design. (The more skin you pare, the brighter the design will glow.)

  5. la102831_1007_pumpkinht5_hd

    Carve out your design using miniature saw. For intricate patterns with tight corners, work in sections.

  6. Once the carving is complete, wrap string lights around the glass jar, then place jar inside pumpkin. We prefer this technique because you won't have to worry about the lights going out in your display.

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