Carving pumpkins is an October tradition—but carving a pineapple as your jack o’lantern this year offers the same fun activity with a playful and unexpected final product. Pineapple jack o’lanterns are particularly well-suited to apartments or homes without stoops or porches: If your household (and guests) are the only ones who will get to enjoy your carved creation, you might as well make it something special (and something more appropriately sized to being kept indoors).
Carving a pineapple is just as straight-forward as carving a pumpkin, though hopefully this project will take less time than carving an eight-pound pumpkin, as pineapples tend to be much smaller. You may have a pumpkin carving kit or set of tools, which could come in handy for this project but isn’t necessary: making a pineapple jack o’lantern only needs a few good knives and, ideally, a melon baller (though an ice cream scoop, a pineapple corer, or a spoon all make fine alternatives).
The key to a successful carving project is to take your time, work carefully, and perhaps stock up on a spare pineapple or two in case you’re not confident in your knife skills. Even if you move slowly, this project should take less than an hour, so you’ll be able to carve a few pineapples for a beautifully spooky (and tropical) display. Cuts can’t be undone, so try to make only small, precise ones, and your final product will be a success.
Watch our helpful guide to making a pineapple jack o'lantern to get a sense of the process for carving your tropical creation—and to see how easy it is—then read on for the supplies, steps, and more you'll need to make this cute spooky decor. For more simple, clever ideas and videos, watch all the "One Thing" videos from The Spruce—you might just find your next cleaning, organizing, or decorating project.
Pineapple Jack O'Lanterns Are Here to Replace Your Pumpkins
Equipment / Tools
- Cutting board
- Large, sharp serrated knife
- Paring knife
- Melon baller, pineapple corer, small ice cream scoop, or large spoon
- Dark permanent marker
- Long lighter
- Tea light or flameless tea light
Prep Your Pineapple
Use the serrated knife to cut off the crown of the pineapple, an inch or two below the stalk.
Work slowly and press firmly on the knife to make the cut—if you feel like you have to hack at the pineapple, you may need a larger or sharper knife. Try to make your cut straight and neat, so the top can rest neatly on the base when your jack o'lantern is ready. Set the top aside for later.
Make sure your knife is sharp—a too-dull knife will have a hard time cutting through the thick pineapple skin, and the less you have to work to make the cut, the less chance there will be of you getting cut.
Plan Your Scooping
Use the paring knife to outline a circle in the center of the pineapple. The circle should be a half-inch or so from the edge of the pineapple, leaving a thin (but not too thin) wall of pineapple and skin. Cut deep into the pineapple to make hollowing out the fruit easier.
Hollow out the Pineapple
Use the melon baller (or whichever scooping tool you have) to scoop out the inside of your circle, hollowing out the pineapple. Try to stay within the cut you made in the previous step to avoid making the walls too thin. When finished, the pineapple should resemble a large, empty cup.
Save the fruit for snacking, baking, or making smoothies later.
Draw the Face
Lay the pineapple down and use the marker to draw the face—eyes, nose, and mouth, just like you’d do for a pumpkin jack o’lantern—on the outside of the pineapple.
Carve the Face
Use the paring knife to carve out the shapes you drew. Make slow, careful cuts along the marker lines, and push each cut-out into the pineapple to remove it. (You can reach in through the open top to take out all the cut-outs at the end.)
Light Your Lantern
Stand the pineapple upright. Place a tea light (or flameless tea light) in the center of the pineapple. Light with a long lighter or match. Place the stalk and top back on the pineapple.
Your carved creation should last about one week, though there are ways to slightly extend its life.