Zesty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds ~ ElephantEats.com

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that for the last few years, I’ve been really getting into pumpkin carving at Halloween. I had seen these really cool pumpkins online and thought “i could do that,” so I picked up some wood-carving tools and was on my way!

Two years ago, I did a “Where the Wild Things Are” pumpkin:

Where the Wild Things Are jack-o-lantern ~ ElephantEats.com

My 2011 “Where the Wild Things Are” jack-o-lantern

Last year was an owl in honor of our wedding (in which there was a real owl!).

I, sadly, missed winning Movita’s Carve-Off 2012 competition by a hair!

Owl jack-o-lantern ~ ElephantEats.com

My 2012 owl jack-o-lantern

Now that I’ve had 2 years to hone my pumpkin-carving skills, I think that I did my best one yet!

Movita actually posted a link on her facebook page  to the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers last week. I had never been to their page before, but when I looked thru their SERIOUSLY AWESOME pumpkins, I saw that the Wild Things pumpkin I had found on pinterest two years ago (that inspired mine) was actually theirs. 

Nightmare Before Christmas jack-o-lantern ~ ElephantEats.com

I wanted to pick up some pumpkin carving tips, so I actually emailed them (not expecting a response) to find out A) where they cut the hole in their pumpkins since it’s obviously not the top and B) how they light them so well.

Nightmare Before Christmas jack-o-lantern ~ ElephantEats.com

Well, they wrote back like immediately which made me so excited. I found out that they actually cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin, which is what I did this year.

Nightmare Before Christmas jack-o-lantern ~ ElephantEats.com

 They also told me they rig it up with LED or CFL lights inside the pumpkin…but I didn’t have time to get the lights, so I just stuck a flashlight in my pumpkin and called it a day :)

Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington jack-o-lantern ~ ElephantEats.com

My 2013 “Nightmare Before Christmas” Jack Skellington jack-o-lantern

We also finally remembered to use the tripod to take pics this year, since that’s really the only way to get a good pic of anything in the dark.

Nate carved the Oogie Boogie Man to go along with the “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme. I don’t know how we’re going to top these pumpkin next year. 

Nightmare Before Christmas jack-o-lantern ~ ElephantEats.com

*I’ve updated this post to include a few pumpkin carving tips:

  1. Find a pumpkin with a nice wide, flat-ish surface on the part you’re going to carve.
  2. Cut a hole in the backside of your pumpkin that’s big enough for your hand to fit through. Remove all the seeds (and save them to eat!) and then scrape away all the stringy pumpkin gook.
  3. Find an image. It’s best to work from an image that’s in black and white. Either find one that is already b+w or convert it with some photo-editing software. Pixlr.com is a good one and I think picmonkey.com might be able to do it too. 
  4. Use dry-erase or washable markers to sketch out the image on your pumpkin
  5. Get some wood carving tools, knives, or any other instruments you think will help with scraping the flesh off your pumpkin- some of these need to have small points as you might have intricate details to scrape.
  6. This is kind of obvious, but the lightest areas on your inspiration image will be the parts that you scrape/carve the deepest.
  7. I don’t actually ever cut all the way through the pumpkin flesh- the light areas are simply scraped quite deep into the flesh.
  8. Start with scraping/carving out the lightest areas on your pictures so you have a reference of how deep the lightest areas are compared to not scraping at all (the darkest areas) and then you can estimate how far to scrape for the in-between gray areas.
  9. When you think you’re done, take one of those pumpkin scooper tools they sell in the pumpkin carving sets and scrape the inside of the pumpkin behind your design as much as you can. This will ensure that there isn’t much flesh between the inside and your “lightest” areas. Your design will show better this way because when you put the light inside, it will be able to shine through best.
  10. Either rig up a light bulb or put a mini flashlight in your pumpkin. The little pumpkin lights they sell in the store aren’t bright enough to shine through a “scraped” pumpkin enough to really show off your design.
  11. That’s it! Now light up the pumpkin and impress all your friends!

Since we had two huge-ass pumpkins, I was able to get quite a few pumpkin seeds from them. Roasting pumpkin seeds has been a tradition in my house since I was little whenever we carved Jack-o-Lanterns. When I made them the first year I knew Nate, he became obsessed with them and now he looks forward to pumpkin carving for the seeds more than for the pumpkin I think :)

Last year I saw a Rachel Ray recipe that recommended boiling the seeds before roasting them. I decided to give it a try and they came out great! So I thought I’d share that recipe with you today. Enjoy!

Zesty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds ~ ElephantEats.com 

Zesty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Crispy, salty, spicy seasoned pumpkin seeds!
Write a review
  1. 1 cup cleaned raw whole pumpkin seeds
  2. 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp fine sea salt
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 1 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1 tsp onion powder
  6. a pinch cayenne
  7. 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees .
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups water, the seeds and 1 tbsp. salt to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain. Pat the seeds dry between layers of paper towels.
  3. Toss the seeds with the olive oil and remaining 1 tsp. salt. Spread in a single layer on a greased foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until golden, 10 to 12 minutes (or possibly a little longer).
  4. Toss with one of the seasoning blends at right and roast for 5-10 minutes more or until crispy. Keep an eye on them because they burn fast!
Adapted from http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/oven-roasted-pumpkin-seeds/
Adapted from http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipe/oven-roasted-pumpkin-seeds/


  1. Yummy.. Yummy .. Yummy!!

    And your pumpkins are amazing… Truly artistic, creative and beautiful.. :-)

  2. Your pumpkins are amazing! I did the Oogie Boogie man a few years ago, but your Jack is incredible. So detailed!

  3. You go, Amy!! I love this year’s pumpkin and the previous two!! You are really talented. And it is very cool that you roast the seeds. Genius and delicious!

    • Thanks, Monica!!! I can’t wait to have a porch next year to put my pumpkin on :) I totally love pumpkin seeds.

      • Amy – I can never put carved pumpkins outside. The squirrels get them right away and literally by morning, it is half eaten away and looking way more grotesque than we ever intended! Might just be the trees on our lot or it’s just carved pumpkins…some of my neighbors don’t seem to have the same problem.

  4. Amy you are so talented…I love all of your pumpkins! Pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite fall snacks, love that your version has a little heat to them too!

    • Aw, thanks Meghan :) When I was little we always just roasted with salt and maybe some garlic powder. But these have a ton of flavor…just try not to burn them like I did, hehe. Although they still tasted yummy.

  5. consuelohoneyandfigs

    I can’t beloeve how talented you are. Those pumpkins look beautiful, you’re an artist!

  6. Excuse me while I bow to your mad skills.

  7. You are seriously talented at carving pumpkins! Me, not so much. I carve 3 triangles for the eyes and nose and if I’m feeling really ambitious I try to add a few teeth.
    Can’t wait to try the pumpkin seeds!

    • Aw, thanks Christin! Haha, when I was growing up I just did the triangles thing :) This complex carving is just a recent thing to challenge myself!

  8. Those pumpkins are insane! Awesome job!! I usually put a little water (and salt) in the sheet pan with my pumpkin seeds when I roast them. I wonder how different boiling them first is. Might have to try it!

    • Thanks, Megan! oooh, water in the sheet pan…like you steam them? I’ve never heard of that! How much do you add? So you don’t coat them in oil?

  9. You’re a pumpkin artist, these look so great! We should get you entered in some carving contests! Also I love the roasted seeds afterwards, yum!

    • After I saw this comment, I looked up contests and entered one online…but there were so many amazing pumpkins that were way better than mine, so I doubt I have a very high chance of winning. Apparently there are quite a few pumpkin artists out there! Thanks, Pamela :)

  10. Great job!!! Love the pumpkins!! Love the nightmare before christmas!!

  11. very intricate designs… awesome work! i’ve never carved a pumpkin, but I’ve watched my nieces do it. my favorite part is putting a candle inside… I see why people do it.

  12. That looks SO good! You’re very talented. I can’t believe how intricate it is.

  13. oh my god amy, this is unreal! you’re so talented – you should do this for money, haha! i really need to get my hands on some pumpkins before they all sell out of the supermarkets, and i’ll definitely save this recipe for the seeds :) great post, girl!
    the hobbit kitchen x

    • Thank you, Holly :) I would love to do this for money! The problem is that they can only be done around Halloween and they don’t stay fresh for that long. You should definitely do the pumpkin seeds!

  14. Okay, you are just a pumpkin carving ROCKSTAR. This is seriously amazing.

  15. you actually should consider pumpkin carving as your career because WOW you are good! I never would have thought to boil them first! Definitely doing that this year.

  16. Nice carving my friend! Those pumpkins look great! As do the pumpkin seeds!! Yum! Did you know that pumpkin seeds are actually a ‘beauty food’? They promote healthy hair! Aww yeah :)

  17. Amy! Is there no end to your talent sister? I have no idea how you can extract so much detail from a hard surface – the intricacy of your carvings amaze me. It’s truly all I can do to jackhammer two holes (let’s call them eyes) into the rock hard squash (and thank goodness they don’t have to be parallel). Tell me it’s the tools you use that makes the job easier :). The lit effect of your latest creation is truly incredible — no need for special lights. You had an owl at your wedding??

    • Aw, Kelly, thank you so much!!! The tools definitely help- there’s no way I could do that with just a knife. Yes, there was a little owl at our wedding! Since it was at the Audubon Center which is a bird sanctuary, so it was a rescue owl. He was so so cute!

  18. Omg your pumpkins are incredible!! Wow, so impressed! And these pumpkin seeds sound great. :)

  19. Oh, my gosh, these are ALL terrific! We can barely carve a basic pumpkin face! Just amazing!

  20. OH MY GOODNESS. You are insanely talented! I just called Ryan in here to look at your pumpkin. I can’t even comment on the seeds because the art is still blowing me away!

  21. You are truly skilled at this Amy! Look at all that intricate details on this pumpkin! It is truly beautiful and so festive too! Love it! :)

  22. That’s an amazing detailed carving on the pumpkins! Well done!

  23. Whoa. I am a terrible pumpkin carver, I usually end up with bloody fingers and tears of frustration in my eyes. Last year’s Hanson logo was probably as good as it will ever get for me.

    I finally watched Nightmare Before Christmas for the FIRST TIME EVER this year, so I’m super excited about these punkins:)

    • I totally had bloody fingers- I always slice my hand at least one, but it’s the price you pay for pumpkin fun! Glad you liked Nightmare Before Christmas!!! Thanks, Emma :)

  24. this is just an amazing piece of ART, serously. I carved my first ever pumpkin last year and really enjoyed it. Thanks for your tips :)

  25. Amy! These are really wonderful—I’m especially loving the one of Jack. As for the pumpkin seeds, they never last more than a few days in my kitchen. Way too addictive, but certainly a bonus in the pumpkin carving process :)

  26. Those are, without a doubt, some of the coolest pumpkins I’ve ever seen! You did such a great job, and I love that Jack is orange and the Oogie Boogie man is white/blue. So creative! I grew up watching The Nightmare Before Christmas every single year. I just wish I had the skill to do something like this for Halloween!

    Also, roasted pumpkin seeds are the bomb. When I was a kid, I seriously remember my mom pushing my brother and I to hurry up and carve our pumpkins already, just so she could roast the seeds. :P

    • That’s quite a compliment…that’s so much, Willow! Also, so glad you stopped by because now I’ve found my way to your blog, which I completely love :) And yes, roasted pumpkin seeds are so so yummy.

  27. Pingback: Halloween Recipe Roundup | wee eats

  28. Mmm, seeds look yummy! And those pumpkins… OMG!! I wish I was that talented. Mine will at best have two eyes, a nose and a zig-zag mouth… :)

  29. Love all the Jack O Lantern carvings – so beautiful and artistic and wow you are really good at that (I wish I can carve magically like you)! The owl was my favorite and how cute it was in honor of your wedding!

  30. My comment just disappeared! I’ll start again. You and your husband are both very gifted and talented. I love what you’ve done with the pumpkins. I hope there’s a competition you can enter because you deserve to win. I’m glad the pumpkin seeds don’t go to waste! xx

  31. Your pumpkin is amazing! I saw it on Facebook a few days ago and showed my husband but I didn’t have time then to stop by and tell you how much we both love it. You are so talented! The zesty pumpkin seeds sound delicious, too. Good times at your household. :)

    • Haha, thanks, Nicole!!! That’s so sweet of you and your hubby :) I hope you’ll post a pic of Amelia in her costume this year…last year’s was just too adorable.

  32. I am so impressed!! you are very creative!! I could say I carve a pumpkin but that’s with triangle eyes! You’re amazing and so in your hubby!! I’m going to see if I can follow your tips and try to “update” my carving skills! If not, I’m going to try out the boiling tip on the seeds – I’ve never done that either!!!

  33. You are so creative! Thanks for sharing very useful carving tips!!

  34. That’s amazing! Makes my pumpkin look pathetic! Lovely way to use the pumpkin seeds too.

  35. These are pretty outrageous. I’d say enjoy the glory and don’t worry about next year just yet!
    Happy Halloween!

  36. Wow! These pumpkins are amazing, Amy! I can’t imagine how much time this took. I wish I had the patience for something like this.

    • Thanks, Kelli! It took me about 2.5 hours to completely carve my pumpkin…i don’t even notice though, I totally get in the zone. It’s funny because if you asked Nate, he’d definitely say I’m not a patient person but I guess I am with art stuff…although I’m definitely not a perfectionist!

  37. I am so bad at carving pumpkins. I will come back to this post next year and give it another go. Your Nightmare before Christmas pumpkins are totally rocking my world right now. It’s the oogie boogie man! I was singing “This is Halloween” all day yesterday. Now I have Oggie’s song in my head.

  38. Wow, these pumpkins are incredible! You have inspired me to try harder with my pumpkin carving.

  39. pumpkin seeds! gotta love a spicy seed/nut; we do around here. we never got around to carving our pumpkins this year (due to dumb illness and even dumber child illness), but next year, i’m totally using your directions. I need to work on my carving skills, BAD. Your pumpkin this year was brilliant: do you know that’s one of my all-time favorite movies? Tim Burton rocks my tiny world. As do you.
    But i will say that Where the Wild Things Are pumpkin was pretty awesome also. Because that book rocks my world.

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