Give gourds a night off and try your hand at a quirky, tropical alternative: the pineapple jack-o’-lantern.

By Dawn Perry
Updated September 09, 2020
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Pineapple carving: how to carve a pineapple jack-o'-lantern
Credit: Getty Images

If you know how to carve a pumpkin and feel confident in your skills, it may be time for a new challenge: pineapple carving. Carving a pineapple—specifically, carving a pineapple jack-o’-lantern—isn’t inherently different from carving a pumpkin, but it takes a little special care. Learn how to carve a pineapple jack-o’-lantern here, and you’re guaranteed to have the chillest, most unexpected decor of the season.

Pineapples don’t have the surface area for your favorite pumpkin carving stencils, unfortunately, but if you’re particularly handy with a knife, you could try some freehand carvings. Otherwise, sticking to the standard jack-o’-lantern is best—though feel free to add your own flair to your pineapple jack-o’-lantern’s smile.

You’re likely already familiar with how long carved pumpkins last (or how short their lifespans can be), but be prepared for your pineapple carving to have a similarly short life. Your juicy pineapple may even start to fade earlier than a carved pumpkin would, so plan to carve your jack-o’-lantern the day of the event where you plan to show it off to ensure it looks fresh. There are ways to make pumpkins last longer, but you may need to do a little experimenting to ensure they work on a pineapple. Most importantly, have fun: When finished, your little pineapple jack-o’-lantern is almost guaranteed to make you smile.

How to carve a pineapple jack-o’-lantern

Illustration: Prepping a pineapple (How to carve pineapple jack-o-lantern - Prep the Fruit)
Credit: Adam Cruft

1
Prep the fruit

Select a slightly underripe pineapple for carving. Look for a firm fruit with green skin and a perky top. Using a sharp knife with a thin and flexible blade, cut off the top 1½ inches of the pineapple, leaving the leaves attached. Set aside.

Illustration: Scoring pineapple (How to carve pineapple jack-o-lantern - Score the Flesh)
Credit: Adam Cruft

2
Score the flesh

Use the knife to cut around the inside of the pineapple skin, leaving about a half inch of yellow flesh intact around the sides. Score the fruit through the core to make it easier to remove.

Illustration: Scooping out a pineapple (How to carve pineapple jack-o-lantern - Scoop It Out)
Credit: Adam Cruft

3
Scoop it out

Use a large, thin spoon or an ice cream scoop to scrape out the insides and transfer to a bowl. Continue cutting around the edge to loosen the flesh and scooping with the spoon until you get to the bottom inch or so of the pineapple (it will become a lot harder to scoop out when you reach the bottom). Save the insides for piña coladas, pineapple soft serve, or even a topping for pork tacos.

Illustration: Carving a pineapple (How to carve pineapple jack-o-lantern - Carve the Face)
Credit: Adam Cruft

4
Carve the face

Cut out triangles for eyes—you can use the pineapple “eyes” as a guide—and use the tip of the knife to push the cutouts through to the inside. Cut another triangle for a nose and a scary grin. Keep the carved pineapple in the fridge until darkness falls. Illuminate with a tea light placed in a small jam jar or a flameless candle.