Fall DIY Tutorial: How to Carve Your Own RV Trailer Pumpkin

Oct 5, 2020 | Food & Camp Cooking

Fall DIY Tutorial: How to Carve Your Own RV Trailer Pumpkin

Whether you're camping or staying put this Halloween, carving an RV jack-o'-lantern is a cute and creative way to bring the family together and celebrate your love for RVing.

By Kerry Sainato

Photo: Kerry Sainato

Carving a pumpkin trailer is a fun, family-friendly activity for any upcoming fall camping trips—especially if there’s a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, or farm nearby to find just the right pumpkins. A campsite picnic table is the perfect place to carve while leaving the mess outside. Plus, you’ll end up with an adorable RV jack-o’-lantern to light up your site in the evening as the days get shorter.

If you’re not camping this fall, carving this pumpkin trailer is a fun way to decorate your stationary home’s doorstep while celebrating your love for RV life.

pumpkin carving supplies, pumpkins, and squash laid out on camp table
Pumpkin carving supplies. | Photo: Kerry Sainato

Supplies Needed for Carving a Pumpkin RV Trailer

Pumpkin Carving Tutorial: How to Carve an RV Pumpkin

1. Pick your pumpkins

Start by choosing a pumpkin for the RV trailer. Look for a tall, oblong shape that’s about twice as tall as it is wide. It’s helpful if the pumpkin is slightly flatter on one side (used as the bottom) so your trailer is stable when it’s flipped horizontally for carving. Try to find a pumpkin with a long stem.

For the tow vehicle, look for a round pumpkin that is about the same height and about half of the width as your RV pumpkin when it’s turned on its side.

For both, choose pumpkins that are smooth and blemish-free with no dents, broken skin, or punctures. This will make carving easier and help your pumpkin stay fresh until you are ready to carve.

2. Cover your table  

Cover your table with newspaper, paper bags, or an easy-to-clean vinyl tablecloth. Using newspaper or paper bags makes clean-up a breeze at the end of your project because you can simply fold up the mess and toss it in the trash.

3. Remove pumpkin seeds and guts

hand scooping out pumpkin seeds
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Cut holes in the bottom of both pumpkins large enough for your hand to reach in and scoop out the seeds and guts. Use the scoop tool from your carving tool kit. A good scoop tool will have serrated edges that make this process easy. Save the seeds to roast later (keep reading for an easy recipe). This step is easy for kids to do with their smaller hands.

4. Pre-sketch your design

sketch of a travel trailer on paper
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Create a paper pumpkin carving template to refer to while carving your pumpkin. A rough sketch is fine. Draw an oval shape that’s similar to the shape of your RV pumpkin and use a pencil to add details. This lets you think about how you want to design your RV and where to place each element on your pumpkin.

5. Use a dry erase marker to sketch your design onto the pumpkin

outline on pumpkin for carving
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Using your sketch as a reference, draw your design on the pumpkin with a dry erase marker. Erase and redraw as needed. To erase, use a damp cloth to remove the elements you want to resketch and let the pumpkin dry before redrawing. Don’t worry, pumpkins dry quickly.

6. Carve your pumpkin

carving pumpkin with carving tool
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Start carving the smaller elements before the larger elements to keep your pumpkin as sturdy as possible throughout the process.

Choose details like the door frame to carve only partway through. This will create a layered, multi-dimensional look.

poking holes in pumpkin to outline carving details
Photo: Kerry Sainato

To do this, first use a tool to make pin holes around the element to create a cutting guide. Then cut, connecting the pin holes, using a small knife or razor tool. Cut just through the skin. Then use a small knife or razor tool to scrape off the first layer of orange skin so that the flesh underneath becomes visible.

Finally, use scraper tools to scrape about halfway through the flesh, taking care not to poke all the way through the pumpkin.

using a razor blade to carve details in pumpkin
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Next, cut out the elements that you’ve chosen to fully cut through, such as the windows, with saw tools. Pop these pieces out of the pumpkin, but save them for later.

carving a window in a pumpkin with carving tool
Photo: Kerry Sainato

With your small knife, razor tool, or saw tools, trim the inside of the pumpkin around these elements to create a neater look that will allow more light to come through.

7. Clean your pumpkin

Using a damp cloth, wipe your pumpkin down, taking care to remove any dry-erase ink that might still be visible on the pumpkin.

8. Attach wheels, door handle, and doorstep with skewers

attaching squash to carved pumpkin to form wheels
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Cut about 2 inches off the end of one of the delicata squashes and scoop out the seeds and guts.

Using a sharp, pointy tool from your pumpkin carving tool kit, create a hole large enough for a skewer to run through the top of the squash wheel. Also, create a hole where the wheel will attach to the pumpkin.

Run a long wooden skewer through this hole in the squash round and the pumpkin to attach the wheel. Use scissors to cut the skewer close to the squash to hide the skewer as much as possible.

Take a part of the pumpkin that you saved and cut it into a step shape. Attach it below the door with two skewers in the same way you attached the wheels.

Finally, use the same method to attach a large pumpkin seed to the door to create a handle. You will need the tip of a skewer or toothpick for this.

9. Repeat steps 4 through 8 to carve the tow vehicle

finished carved pumpkin trailer and tow vehicle
Photo: Kerry Sainato

The tow vehicle should take less time as it’s smaller. As an additional detail, carve a hole in the back of the tow vehicle to connect the stem of your RV pumpkin to the tow vehicle pumpkin, acting as the tow hitch. You will also need two squash wheels for the car.

10. Light your jack-o’-lanterns

Use candles to light up your jack-o’-lanterns. As a safer option, and to keep your pumpkins fresh for as long as possible, ​you can use LED-battery operated tea lights​.

Bonus Recipe: Roasted Everything Bagel Seasoning Pumpkin Seeds

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Separate your pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin guts. Place the seeds in a bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 2 tablespoons of ​Everything Bagel seasoning​. Stir to combine. Roast on a sheet pan for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a tasty treat on their own for snacking, or use to garnish soups or salads.

Tips for Carving a Pumpkin Trailer

lit up pumpkin in the shape of a travel trailer

Have some extra fun with this project while camping by taking a preparatory stroll around the campground to look at RVs for inspiration. Bring a sketchbook to draw windows, doors, and other details you like, or take photos during your walk to reference later. If you’re not camping, search Google or Pinterest for additional inspiration.

This project takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete and is suitable for kids ages 12 and up. For families with younger children, adults should handle the tasks requiring sharper tools.

While there are a lot of details involved with carving this pumpkin, most of the shapes are simple and don’t require you to be a pumpkin-carving expert.

Follow the above steps to create your own tiny pumpkin trailer. Tag us on social media, @togo_rv, so we can see your creative designs.

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Kerry Sainato

Kerry bought a tiny teardrop trailer on a whim over four years ago and is now an enthusiastic RV traveler. She spends most of her camping nights in New England, but is working on plans for a year-long cross country journey with her husband. Kerry also owns and operates a cooking blog, cookwithkerry.com, and loves cooking over the open fire during her camping adventures.