Creating Jack O’ Lanterns – How To Make Mini Pumpkin Lanterns

Tiny Jack O' Lantern Pumpkin
mini lantern
(Image credit: Philhillphotography)

The tradition of creating jack o’ lanterns began with carving root vegetables, like turnips, in Ireland. When Irish immigrants discovered hollow pumpkins in North America, a new tradition was born. While carving pumpkins are generally large, try making miniature pumpkin lights out of smaller gourds for a new, festive Halloween decoration.

How to Make Mini Pumpkin Lanterns

Carving a mini jack o’ lantern is essentially the same as creating one of the standard sizes. There are a few things to keep in mind to make it easier and more successful:

  • Choose pumpkins that are small but round. Too flattened and you won’t be able to carve it.
  • Cut a circle and remove the top as you would with a larger pumpkin. Use a teaspoon to carve out the seeds.
  • Use a sharp, small knife to reduce the risk of cutting yourself. A serrated knife works well. Use the spoon to scrape out more of the pumpkin on the side you plan to carve. Thinning the side will make it easier to cut.
  • Draw the face on the side of the pumpkin before cutting. Use LED tea lights instead of real candles for safer lighting.

Mini Pumpkin Lantern Ideas

You can use your mini jack o’ lanterns in the same way you would larger pumpkins. However, with the smaller size, these mini pumpkins are more versatile:

  • Line the jack o’ lanterns along the fireplace mantle.
  • Put them along the railing of a porch or deck.
  • Using small shepherd hooks and some twine, hang the mini pumpkins along a walkway.
  • Place the mini pumpkins in the crooks of trees.
  • Put several in a large planter in between fall plants like mums and kale.
  • Use mini jack o’ lanterns as a Halloween centerpiece.

Mini jack o’ lanterns are a fun alternative to the traditional large carved pumpkin. There are many more things you can do with them using your own imagination and creativity to make your Halloween festive and unique. 

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.