Unicorn v. Dragon Pumpkin

I got my hands on a gigantic pumpkin this year!


· Unicorn: Pattern by Jay Ball, of PumpkinGlow.com (Jay’s carved version here).
· Dragon: Much simplified version of the carving by Noel Dickover (of Fantasy Pumpkins fame in Centreville, Virginia) of Ciruelo Cabral’s famous illustration. (I based my pattern on Noel’s 2003 carving, not on one of his later versions of the same pattern.)
I drew both patterns onto my pumpkin freehand. No stencils.

· basic pumpkin carving knife (like the one here–just the knife. I don’t have a scoop. Scoops are silly.)
· basic paring knife (like the one here)
· toothpicks

· Unicorn: 1 hr to draw (harder than I had thought!), 1.75 hr to carve
· Dragon: 0.5 hr to draw, 3-5 hr to carve (I lost track because I carved it in many bits, a good part of which was while eating Bored’s delicious pumpkin cheesecake and marveling at how tacky everything except the Rainbow Bridge is in Thor.)



I made the unicorn too big–the pattern would have been much easier to recognize and appreciate if it were smaller. :/ Also, the nose doesn’t show up very well unless you look at it head-on. (It shows up a little in the photo of the unicorn and dragon together below.)

Not all of the lines on the dragon show up as well as I’d like, but at least the outline is still visible! I did not have anywhere near enough time to carve any scales, but I am incredibly proud of the eye and teeth: The eye alone took me half an hour because the eye whites are smaller than either of my knives, so I did lots of poking with toothpicks. Same for the smallest teeth.

The dragon has spikes on its back, but they unfortunately don’t show up very well. I carved them very deep, almost all the way through (but not all the way because they’re in the background relative to the other spikes), and the back spikes do show up very well if you shine a flashlight at them from inside. So it must be that the candle light is hitting the spikes from too low.


I had hoped to also carve a couple of small full-body silhouettes since this pumpkin was so big, but I ran out of time and actually space, too!


In the daylight:

(The unicorn is a bit dried out because the photos were taken ~36 hr after I finished carving the unicorn.)

Proof the back spikes exist!


Before carving:

I forgot to take a photo before I started carving the unicorn. >.<


On a side note, this pumpkin, while gigantic, was rather weird: the flesh turned all ropey wherever I carved:



11 thoughts on “Unicorn v. Dragon Pumpkin

  1. !!!! THE DRAGON. LOOKS. AWESOME. I need your pumpkin carving skillz. I tried to carve the silhouette of President Obama and utterly failed. D:

    • Aww, thanks! I am really excited about the dragon! I wish I had had time to carve the scales. Also, I am somewhat tempted to get a good pumpkin saw for next year, but toothpicks have worked so far…

      My best tip for carving patterns with curved lines is not to push the knife all the way in! Go really slowly and keep tight control of the knife. You can still cut all the way through even without pushing the knife all the way in. Also, I highly recommend a pumpkin carving knife. Just a basic one like the one I have works fine–its blades are narrower and not as sharp as a regular knife’s, so it maneuvers better around curves. Regular knives (like the paring knife I used) are more difficult to use on curves–still definitely doable (and I used my paring knife for all the half-cut throughs), but you have to be very careful to just cut a little bit depthwise into the pumpkin at a time.

  2. Mmm…I see…my pumpkin knives BENT when I tried this! :( :(

    I think I am going to get another pumpkin this week and try again…

    (Mine did the weird spaghetti string thing too when I cut into it!)

    • Oh no! Do you have a pumpkin carving knife? Those are not only blunter, but also thicker, so they don’t bend. I am happy to help in any way I can! You are welcome to call/spam me! <3

      (I swear my pumpkins never did the spaghetti string thing before! Maybe something about the climate during growing season this year?)

    • It was tacky gold but not tacky psychedelic rainbow!

      Aww, thanks! I am really excited about the dragon, too! Kind of disappointed with the unicorn; I should have drawn/made my own pattern!

  3. Pingback: Hobbit Pumpkin with No Hobbits | the whimsy turtle

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