How To: Carve a Snack-o'-Lantern

By MDC | September 1, 2023
From Xplor: September/October 2023

Trick or tweet! Give your feathered friends a Halloween treat by turning a jack-o’-lantern into a spooky bird feeder.

Here’s what you need

  • Newspapers
  • Pumpkin (a taller one works better than a fatter one)
  • Permanent marker
  • Pumpkin-carving tool or paring knife
  • Black oil sunflower seeds or roasted pumpkin seeds

Here’s what you do

  1. Spread a few layers of old newspapers where you’ll be working. This will make cleaning up pumpkin guts much easier.
  2. Use a marker to draw a spooky face on a pumpkin. Be sure to make the mouth ginormous. It needs to be big so birds can enter and get seeds.
  3. Since the next steps involve sharp tools, ask a grown-up for help. Use a pumpkin-carving tool or a paring knife to cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin. Lift off the “lid” and scoop out the seeds.
  4. Don’t throw the seeds away! Clean the pulp off of them, layer them on a baking sheet, and roast them in a 400-degree oven until they’re golden-brown, about 5 to 15 minutes. Birdseed or people snack? You decide.
  5. Carve the openings for the eyes, nose, and mouth into the pumpkin.
  6. Set your snack-o’-lantern on an outside table or porch rail where you can watch it. Birds will find it quicker if you place it near an existing bird feeder. Fill the bottom of the pumpkin with black oil sunflower seeds or roasted pumpkin seeds.
  7. Keep an eye on your snack-o’-lantern to see who shows up for trick-or-tweets.

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This Issue's Staff

Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber