How to Make the Perfect Pirate Jack-O’-Lantern

As you all know, I’m huge into arts and crafts. They are, basically, my raison d’etre. So, I figure it’s about time that I give a little gift to the world and share some of my crafty knowledge. 

I don’t use Pinterest, because frankly, I don’t need to; I have all the arts and crafts ideas I will ever need stored between my ears. But, I know many of less crafty among us need that kind of help, so feel free to Pin this. Be prepared for it to go viral.

Nothing can quite compare to the pressure of jack-o’-lantern carving. Every year when the calendar flips to October, you can just sense the tension building. The air becomes cooler and drier, leaves rustle in the breeze, and people start freaking out about pumpkin carving. Just take a stroll around the grocery store and look into people’s faces. They try to act normal, but you can see it in their eyes. The nagging question that keeps them up every night: “What am I going to do with this freakin’ pumpkin?”

You feel like you’ve done it all: triangle eyes, square eyes, circle nose (tragically, never again), a mouth with a couple teeth, everything. You feel like you’ve exhausted all your options. But, have you made a pirate jack-o’-lantern? No, you haven’t, but you are about to.

Step 1:

Take your kids to a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkin. If you don’t have kids, that’s okay, just don’t be creepy. It’s important to buy your pumpkin from a pumpkin patch rather than a grocery store for several reasons. First, pumpkin patches are typically much more expensive and more expensive equals better. Second, pumpkin patch pumpkins sit out in the hot sun (in Florida this is particularly relevant) for days and thus will rot within two days of purchase: ephemeral equals better. Third, and perhaps most importantly, grocery stores don’t have over-sized hay-stuffed Snoopy doll or bales of hay with faces painted on them and plastic tubes for hair.

Fourth, taking pictures of your kids dressed in flannel shirts in 100 degree temperatures holding a pumpkin inside a grocery store produce section just isn’t as authentic. 

Unless it’s at Whole Foods, then you’re good.

Step 2:

Cut a pentagon-shaped hole in the top of the pumpkin around the stem. Remove the filthy insides with your hand or a spoon or something. Save the pumpkin seeds for later. I have a recipe for those, obviously, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.

Step 3:

Get your wife to carve a face because you’re a bit squeamish with knives. Triangle eyes, over-sized triangle nose, and mouth with like three teeth is fine. Best to keep it pretty classic.

Step 4:

Find a piece of black construction paper and a pair of scissors. If you don’t have black construction paper, duct tape might work. Cut a roughly rhombus-shaped piece from the paper large enough to cover one of the triangle eyes. Affix the paper (eye patch!) to the pumpkin over its right eye with two pieces of Scotch tape.

Step 5:

Gather up a red Jake and the Neverland Pirates headband. If you don’t have one, any red piece of cloth, necktie, bandanna, or construction paper might work. Wrap it around the pumpkin’s forehead. 

Step 6:

Boom! There is no Step 6. Pirate jack-o’-lantern transformation is complete!



Step 7:

Two days later when mold and fungus overwhelm your pumpkin pirate, make it walk the plank into a trash bag. Restart at Step 1, if desired.

You’re welcome, people of Earth.