As the kids get restless for Halloween, we’re thinking about pulling together an impromptu pumpkin carving party to hold them over. It’s the perfect way to kick off fall and get excited about the upcoming holidays. Even better, it’s a low-key, easy kind of party to throw, busy schedule and all.

Yes, really.

Low-Stress Tips for Hosting a Great Pumpkin Carving Party with Kids

I’ve gathered a few of my favorite tips for hosting a low-stress, but still really fun pumpkin carving party for kids, from what food to serve to which tools to have on hand. And I even found some creative non-carving ideas if you don’t feel like supervising children with knives all party-long. Which, of course, I totally understand.
5 creative tips for hosting an easy, no-stress pumpkin carving party for kids

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This post has been updated for 2023 

1. Make your pumpkin carving party BYOP
Easy tips for hosting your own pumpkin carving party for kids

The number one easiest way to keep your party simple—and affordable—is to ask your guests to bring their own pumpkins. Of course, have a few extra for those who forget, but hopefully it should be pretty easy for your guests to remember to bring a pumpkin to a pumpkin carving party. (Photo:Olivia Kulbida on Unsplash)

2. Keep pumpkin carving party decor simple. Really simple.
Decor ideas for a pumpkin carving party: Keep it as simple as a few decorative pumpkins or some simple flowers in mason jars

Keeping in mind that your guests will be children—and making a tremendous mess—there’s no need to go overboard with decor. Here’s what you need:


3. Offer no-carve pumpkin decorating options.13 easy no carve pumpkin ideas that kids will love. | Cool Mom Picks

If you have very young kids—or more kids than parents—it may make sense for you to host a pumpkin decorating party instead of a pumpkin carving party. Skip the sharp tools and messy scooping altogether, and offer creative ways to decorate without cutting. Visit these posts for  9 cool no-carve DIY pumpkin decorating ideas.all easy enough for kids to do themselves (hooray!). We also found these 13 easy no-carve pumpkin ideas that are truly simple and many don’t even need paint.

Mini painted pumpkins made to look like DONUTS - love! | Studio DIYHow cute are these  Painted Mini Pumpkins from Studio DIY. Everyone loves donuts, and it’s an easy painted pumpkin idea for your party

Star Wars painted pumpkins are an easy — and totally fun! — way to skip carving this year. | DIY CandyHave Star Wars fans coming to your party? (Believe me, you do.) You have to check out these Star Wars pumpkins from DIY Candy. We also rounded up 29 cool Star Wars pumpkin ideas, many of which don’t require carving.

4. Serve food that’s easy to make ahead

Tips for an awesome pumpkin carving party: Serve an easy meal, like Game Day Chili from Pass Me Some TastyOne Pot Chili at Pass Me Some Tasty

If you really want to keep your pumpkin carving party easy, put out easy party food you can prep in advance. These 5 brilliant food bar ideas are perfect for last-minute entertaining. An easy self-serve pasta bar feeds picky kids and adults alike. Or, I’m a fan setting up of a big pot of chili that can simmer while I set up—or even a couple of days before—like this One Pot Chili recipe from Pass Me Some Tasty, above. Then just set a table of DIY toppings like sliced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream and jalapeño so guests do the (fun) work themselves.

Alternately check out these 8 creative Halloween snack tray ideas, or find recipe from these 7 easy Halloween dinner ideas, all clever, simple and delicious!

Tips for an awesome pumpkin-carving party: Serve hot apple cider, with or without alcohol, from Pretty Simple SweetMulled Apple Cider via  Pretty Simple Sweet

No pumpkin carving party would be complete without warm mugfuls of Mulled Apple Cider. This recipe gives tips for how to prepare mulled cider with or without alcohol, so that all of your guests can enjoy it. (Another mom tip: Drop couple of ice cubes in the kids’ mugs before they start sipping.)

Tips for an awesome pumpkin carving party: Serve these tasty Caramel Frosted Pumpkin Cookies from I Heart Naptime for dessertCaramel Frosted Pumpkin Cookies via I Heart Naptime.

If you want a sweet treat–beyond Halloween candy of course–tie in some of that yummy pumpkin flavor by serving these Caramel Frosted Pumpkin Cookies from the recipe at I Heart Naptime. They were served at a friend’s party recently and I could not stop eating them.Just make plenty — they’re small and they’ll go fast.

5. Make good use of those pumpkin seeds!
Halloween treat buckets for pumpkin carving party favors -- include a baggie of fresh pumpkin seeds + a recipe!

We can’t let all those delicious seeds go to waste! For a clever party favor after your pumpkin carving party (in addition to their pumpkin of course), take the seeds kids have saved from their carved pumpkins and pack them up in baggies. Place each one in a small galvanized bucket–or spend a little more on a Halloween themed bucket that they can reuse. Then add in a printed recipe so that when the seeds are dry and ready for roasting, kids will have one more project to look forward to.

Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds from Joy Food Sunshine

Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds via Joy Food Sunshine

For a place to start, I really like Joy Food Sunshine’s recipe for Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds. Or, check this post on 9 creative recipes using pumpkin seeds. You can also provide a simple tutorial for how to roast pumpkin seeds — this post includes four more recipe ideas as well.This way your guests will have the opportunity to remember your awesome party when they’re enjoying their own homemade snack, saved from their very own pumpkin.

Top photo: Frames For Your Heart