How to Throw a Pumpkin Carving Party

The beauty of October with the changing leaves and the pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING has truly taken over lately…and somehow over a PSL or two you volunteered to host a pumpkin carving party at your place this year.  Don’t panic.  Because a pumpkin carving party is one of the easiest ones to throw…trust me!  Just follow this check list on How to Throw a Pumpkin Carving Party and you will be all set (As long as no one cuts themselves while carving.  Then you’re screwed.)

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Stockpile recyclables

Newspapers, plastic and glass containers of all shapes and sizes, etc.  Why?  Because you are going to want to cover just about EVERY surface you can with newspaper, and tiny little yogurt and other different size containers come in handy when displaying pumpkin decorations such as glitter, stickers, googly eyes, etc. One of the best tips is to do the pumpkin carving outside or in the garage so kids aren’t spilling glitter or using permanent markers in your clean (eer–somewhat clean) house!

Plan around a big game

Yep, you read that right.  Plan your party around a big game and make sure that there is a TV (or two) in eye sight while carving.  We have found that using an extension cord lets us put a TV outside so the gooey pumpkin mess is contained to the great outdoors.  People are much more likely to get together for a big game with pumpkin carving instead of just a pumpkin carving party.  Trust me.  You can even put a fun playoff baseball twist on your pumpkin carving party and don’t forget to dress in your favorite football or baseball gear if you aren’t brave enough to wear a Halloween costume along with the kiddos.

Provide carving supplies

Visit the Halloween section on Target and go crazy.  Seriously.  They have so many cute arts and crafts materials that can be used by both young and old alike to decorate pumpkins–puffy paint, stickers, glitter, permanent markers, etc.  Be sure to also stock up on carving kits that include knives, scrapers, and templates in case someone comes to the party lacking supplies. Stockpile  if there are any left over and your Target run will be much less pricey next year!

Clearly state the BYOP and BYOB

You don’t want the responsibility of picking out a pumpkin for one of your guests—size, shape color—too many decisions!  Fall is also when there are so many great Oktoberfest beers being brewed (pick up some from my favorite Oktoberfest spot!), so when everyone brings a six pack of their own, there is more delicious Fall flavor to enjoy. Put out some spooky wine glasses and mugs so you can really get into the Halloween spirit. I guarantee that this spiked apple cider recipe will be a hit not just with you (it’s so easy to prep!) but also with your guests.

Plan a simple meal

I love having a simple buffet for parties, especially when there is a busy activity such as pumpkin carving, so people can eat and graze as they please.  We typically put out an assortment of dips including my popular salsa, and for Fall we love to take the easy road and use the slow cooker. I can’t even tell you how delicious and SIMPLE our pulled pork recipe is. Never underestimate how easy it is to make spooky rice krispie treats, either. We pick up a few pies from the store for dessert, some cute decorative napkins and BOOM!  Everyone is fed and you are out having fun with your guests instead of in the kitchen.

Have an activity planned for the kids

Let’s face it…pumpkin carving is really an adult activity (as it should be, so kids don’t lose a finger during the party).  So here is my absolute FAVORITE and easy prep Halloween craft: Upcycled Halloween Jars.

Provide different colors of tissue paper cut into small shapes, googly eyes, a water/glue combo of 1 part water to 2 parts glue, a few paintbrushes, and some old jars (tomato sauce and pickle jars work best).

Kids can decide to make a ghost, monster, pumpkin, alien…the sky is the limit! Help them cover the jar in the glue mixture and then start sticking the tissue paper onto the jar.  Once that dries a little, you can add the googly eyes and you are done!  Once night falls, stick an LED candle (or glow stick—another cheap Dollar Spot find) inside for a spooky glow.

Another great fall back activity that takes zero prep work? Rent a bounce house! The kids will be somewhat contained and they will stay outside so that your house doesn’t get too destroyed by any toddler tornadoes.

Have a contest

With all of the work that everyone is putting towards decorating pumpkins, there has to be a winner (this is America, after all).  So come up with some creative categories and declare some winners.  Suggestions for awards include “scariest carving,” “most creative design,” “epic fail.”

Be sure to visit my Pinterest page for more ideas on Halloween fun.  I have stockpiled a bunch of Fall treats (who knew there were so many pumpkin and apple recipes?!?), Halloween activities, as well as Halloween themed treats to explore. Don’t forget about my Fall in Chicago Bucket List for Chicagoans, either!

Happy Carving!


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  1. Jeni Hawkins says

    This is brilliant. Thank you so much! I will definitely be doing one of these this year! How exciting! There are some great ideas in here, and I seriously never would have thought about doing a party like this….but now, I can’t stop thinking about planning one!

  2. Elizabeth O. says

    So cool. I have never been to a pumpkin carving party before. Nor have I planned one. It sounds like a lot of fun!

    • amandasimkin says

      It is such a fun way to get together in the Fall, when everyone seems to have busy schedules. It is nice to unplug and reconnect over pumpkins!

  3. Alexys says

    Wow… I’m having my 5th Annual Pumpkin Carving Party this year. You even used my “BYOP” I’ve used since the first year. I’m the Pumpkin Carving Party Queen!

  4. Niccole says

    Another idea to contain the mess is a painters plastic drop cloth and butcher paper layered on top. Tape to thr floor once everyone is done. Roll up all the guts and toss it. We have done this every year and I found one loose pumping seeed.

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