Step 1

Plan Your Monster

Gather all the donor parts. You’ll need one medium to large sized pumpkin and at least two donor objects roughly the same size. The donor objects could be another pumpkin, a melon, gourd or just about anything.

Decide which side of the pumpkin you would like to use for the face. There will be a lot of cutting and fitting, so you should focus on making that side look and fit the best. With a design plan in mind, use a small hand saw or knife to cut a section from the large pumpkin (Image 2).

Step 2

Skull Carving

Hold the cut section up to the first donor object. Use a dry erase marker to trace a section equivalent in size and shape (Image 1). Cut this part slightly larger than the traced lines, leaving room to work with when fitting the pieces.

Next, fit the donor piece onto your pumpkin. It’ll take some finessing to get the piece to fit just right so carve thin layers away from the donor piece until it fits (Image 2). Once you have a good seam, put this piece aside to be attached later.

You want your pumpkin to look like it’s been put together from various parts, but these pieces can come from the same pumpkin. A great way to cheat is by cutting your pumpkin in half and stitching it back together. When you cut the pumpkin in half, draw lines in the opposite direction (Image 3) as a reference to remind you how these pieces fit back together.

Step 3

Head Transplant

Cut a section from anywhere on your pumpkin then cut a piece in the equivalent in size and shape from the second donor object. Fit the piece into the hole and make adjustments until it fits just right (Image 1). We used a melon because of the brain-like texture of its skin.

With all the donor pieces cut, scrape the pumpkin guts from each piece before securing them together. To the casual observer it will appear that your creation is held together by stitches alone, but in reality you will use nails to secure the parts. Strips of metal and rawhide will also be used to dress the seams (Image 2).

Line up the two halves of your pumpkin and use a nail to secure them back together. Do the same for the first and second donor pieces; align the cut donor pieces into their respective holes on the pumpkin and use a nail to lock them in place.

Step 4

Carve a Face on Your Pumpkin

Carve a Face on Your Pumpkin

Create the Face

With the pieces secure, draw a face on your pumpkin. We made two different shaped eyes, a big mouth and a nose.

Use a carving tool or knife to cut out the facial features.

Step 5

Stitch the Head Together

Use a drill or an ice pick to make small holes on both sides of the seams (Image 1). Plug the ends of a strip of rawhide into each hole to create a stitch. Crisscross some of the stitches for a more rugged finish. A staple gun can also be used to secure one or more of the pieces. Dress the final seam with short pieces of metal wire (Image 2).

Use a candle or flashlight to illuminate your creation.

This project was designed and sculpted by Tom Nardone, founder of and author of the national bestseller, Extreme Pumpkins.