This Halloween Pumpkin Trend Is So Much Faster Than Carving

Carved pumpkins sitting on a porch

Martin Deja / Getty Images

If you're looking for a new technique for your pumpkin carving, it might be time to put those ineffective plastic knives away.

No longer are you forced to slave over the pumpkin’s tough exterior, moving a tiny tool inch by inch across the thick, impermeable surface. And no longer are you subjected to flimsy toy cutters with bendable metal edges that barely break the skin.

Instead, set up your power drill and have the precision and execution of an expert home renovator—enter the world of pumpkin drilling.

What Is Pumpkin Drilling?

Two words: pumpkin and drill. As the phrase suggests, rather than pumpkin ‘carving,’ you’re going to add a whole new toolset (literally and figuratively) to your fall activities. So, what is this? Exactly what it sounds like. You’re really going to get a power tool and drill holes into your pumpkin (with care and intention, of course).

“Drilling a pumpkin is a cinch,” says Michelle Keldgord, Co-Founder of BakingHow. “All you need to do is mark your pumpkin with your preferred design. Then, use your drill to ‘punch’ holes into the designated area. The end result? A classy and flawless pumpkin that looks gorgeous on any porch.”

Is it that simple? Yes. You just have to be smart, be focused, and be safe.

Why Is This Trend Popular?

If you’ve ever carved a pumpkin before, you know how complicated the process can be. It’s not necessarily that carving is hard (it sort of is) but the whole ordeal is time-consuming, too. Not to mention hand-cramping and the plain frustration that arises when the design you thought you’d have ends up looking more like a bunch of jagged lines.

Needless to say, carving can be a fun bonding time, but the end result is sometimes sub-par.

With drilling, though, the start-to-finish is seamless. Once you’ve either brainstormed or outlined your design, it’s as simple as following the lines (or visualized lines) you’ve created and poking the holes one by one.

To start, you just need a few items, including your pumpkin, serrated knife, electric drill, drill bits, and a template. You may also want to grab a toothpick or washable marker to create your dots/lines and easily hide or erase them after you’re done drilling.

Ronnie Collins, professional woodworker and founder of Electro Garden Tools, elaborates further: "[Get] a cordless drill (the lighter your model is, the better)... Don’t hurry and hold the tool firmly. If you shake it suddenly, you may crack the pumpkin."

How Do You Do It?

When it comes to pumpkin drilling, there’s a process to get it right. If you don’t hold the pumpkin still while you’re drilling or you drill too fast, you may end up with chunks flying everywhere. Or worse, you’ll put holes too close together caving in the entire pumpkin and ruining your design.

Susan Melony, Improvement Blogger at Product Diggers and long-time pumpkin drilling enthusiast, shares her step-by-step process: 

Step 1: Cut holes in the pumpkin's bottom. (If [you’re] using a fake pumpkin, remove the fake pumpkin stem and replace it with a genuine pumpkin stem.)

Step 2: Print a pattern framework or design your own by sketching a pattern on
the pumpkin with various sizes of dots.

Step 3: Place the pattern on the pumpkin and use a toothpick or awl to poke
little holes where the holes should be according to the template.

Step 4: Drill holes in accordance with the template sizes using a corresponding sized drill bit (I use two different width drill bits).

Step 5: Turn on a light inside your pumpkin to witness the designs come to life!

Is Drilling Safe?

Like anything that uses power tools, there is, of course, risk involved. However, patience is a virtue. And while this Halloween trend is great for adults, some may argue that it’s safer (and less aggravating) for children, too.

With supervision and someone either holding the pumpkin steady or co-handling the drill with a younger child, it is possible for this to be a full family affair.

However, regardless of whether you engage with kids or not, it’s recommended to have someone support you in the process. “I would highly recommend having someone help you,” says Keldgord. “Someone needs to (safely) hold the pumpkin while the other individual (extra safely) drills the holes. Otherwise, your pumpkin might go flying.”  

And, as fun as that sounds, no one wants to wipe pumpkin guts off the walls.