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Pumpkin Table Topper

Use cookie cutters to carve these Halloween jack-o'-lanterns.

Jack-o'-lanterns glowing in a darkened room are a natural choice when decorating for Halloween. But instead of carving pumpkins in the same old way, use cookie cutters!

For an eerie evening effect, we used an assortment of star and moon cookie cutters. You could also use cutters with a fall theme, like leaves and pumpkins.

You may want to purchase an inexpensive pumpkin carving kit, which can be found at craft, hardware and variety stores during the Halloween season. Instead of a kitchen knife, we used the small serrated saw from the kit to cut out the cookie cutter image. The kit's plastic drill came in handy to create small circles on some of the pumpkins.

To make your pumpkins look their best for your party, cut them the day before. Rub a little petroleum jelly on the edges of the cutouts and refrigerate. The day of the party, place a tea light candle in each pumpkin.

Set the jack-o'-lanterns on the table along with your other decorations. We used a felt witch's hat, dried leaves, Indian corn and tree branches. Just before guests arrive, dim the lights, light the candles in the pumpkins and have a "spooktacular" Halloween!

Cookie-Cutter Pumpkin Carving

Before you begin, carefully cut a circle around the pumpkin stem, lift off the lid and remove the seeds from the lid and inside the pumpkin.

  1. Place a cookie cutter on the pumpkin and tap firmly with a rubber mallet until at least half of the cutter has pierced the pumpkin's shell. (If the pumpkin shell is thin, the cutter may be pounded all the way through the shell.)
  2. Remove the cookie cutter, using a needle-nose pliers if needed.
  3. With a small serrated knife (or the serrated saw from a pumpkin carving kit), follow the pattern made from the cookie cutter to cut out the image, making sure to cut all the way through the shell.
  4. With one hand inside the pumpkin, push out cookie cutter image from the pumpkin and discard.