Pumpkin Carving Construction Style

This Halloween, convert a whole bunch of pumpkins into scary jack-o'-lanterns fast! All you need is a hole saw and a drill.

A pumpkin carved with construction tools | Construction Pro Tips

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A few years ago, I promised to provide 20 jack-o’-lanterns for a Halloween party. I stared at my truckload of pumpkins, regretted my promise and wondered how to produce good-looking jack-o’-lanterns fast. The answer: hole saws! Read on for the gory details...

Gary Wentz

An assortment of hole saws | Construction Pro Tips

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How to get started

I used 1-1/4-in. and 2-1/4-in. hole saws, but it’s best to have several sizes to choose from. I removed the drill bits from my hole saws so there wouldn’t be holes in the center of the eyeballs.

Instead of using a drill, I cut holes by hand. Here’s why: First, starting a hole without the center drill bit is more difficult with a drill. Second, I was able to feel when the hole saw was starting to break through to the inside of the pumpkin. At that point, I would stop and push the cutout plug into the pumpkin with my fingers. If you drill completely through, the plug will be stuck in your hole saw and you’ll have to pry it out with a screwdriver.

Cutting a hole in a pumpkin with a jigsaw | Construction Pro Tips

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Cut out the lid

A jigsaw works slick for cutting the lid. Just plunge the blade into the pumpkin, start up your saw and cut. Don’t forget to clean off your tools. Pumpkin goop is surprisingly tough to remove after it dries.

Starting the hole with a detached hole saw | Construction Pro Tips

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Start the hole

A hole saw tends to wander as you start the cut. To avoid that, push hard so all the teeth sink into the pumpkin. Then twist. Cut slowly enough to stay focused on keeping the hole saw centered.

Turning a hole saw with a pair of pliers | Construction Pro Tips

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Drill without a drill

When your cut is about 1/4 in. deep, grab the arbor with locking pliers (such as Vise-Grip pliers) to make cutting easier. As the hole saw begins to break through the pumpkin, stop. Then push out the plug by hand. Cut an “eyeball” out of the plug using a smaller hole saw. Or you can cut the eyeballs first, then cut out the larger eye opening. I used the leftover rings as ears and fastened them with screws.

Screw in the eyeballs | Construction Pro Tips

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Screw in the eyeballs

Slippery pumpkin parts are hard to hold steady, so it’s best to hold each eyeball on your bench top while you start the screw. Then drive it into the pumpkin. Fasten the ears with shorter screws. Form the mouth by making overlapping cuts with a hole saw.