Holiday, Online Survey, Survey Examples

How to Host a Pumpkin Carving Contest for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner, which means cooler weather, creative costumes, pumpkin spice lattes, fun-size candies, and of course, contests! Pumpkin carving contests are especially popular this time of year, and are held at company parties, campus gatherings, and many other events. If you’re holding a pumpkin carving contest, there’s no better way to determine a winner than with SurveyLegend. With our free online survey tool, you can add images to surveys and allow people to vote on their favorite pumpkin!

Pumpkin Carving History

You’ve probably been carving pumpkins since you were a child – but how did this tradition even get started? Pumpkin carving can be traced back to Celtic cultures, which later became a staple of Irish culture. In fact, the term “Jack-o’-Lantern” is from an old Irish folk tale. Legend has it that a man named Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him, but tricked the Devil into picking up the tab.

After Jack passed away, he was cursed to wander the Earth at night for eternity as punishment, with only a single coal ember to guide him. Jack put his light in a hollowed-out turnip, and so people began to call him “Jack of the Lantern,” or “Jack-o’-Lantern” for short. To keep Jack away, the Irish began carving pumpkins in his likeness and lighting it with a candle to guide good spirits instead. When many Irish families immigrated to America in the 1800s, the tradition spread.

Pumpkin Carving Contests

Many pumpkin carving contests are just for fun (or designed to get to the guts of the pumpkin in order to make delicious pumpkin pies, roasted seeds, and so on). However, others can earn creative carvers some big bucks (Pumpkin Masters, for example, pays winners up to $5,000). There are also a number of TV shows dedicated to the spooky spirit of Halloween, including Outrageous Pumpkins and Halloween Wars, both which appear on the Food Network. And get this – there are even underwater pumpkin carving contests, in which divers plunge into oceans, lakes, and swimming pools and whittle underwater!

Ideas for Pumpkin Carving Contests

So what does it take to put on a pumpkin carving contest? First, be sure the judging criteria is clear to contestants. For example, you may want uniqueness to be a special consideration (meaning the typical eyes, nose, and grimace found on many pumpkins will likely not be a winning entry). Or, there may be a specific theme, such as “movies” or “animals.” Need some inspiration? Check out “Creative Pumpkins” on Pinterest.

You might also come up with different categories for your contest. Ideas include:

  • Scariest
  • Cutest
  • Funniest
  • Most Creative
  • Most Realistic

It’s also a good idea to put contestants into brackets (skill level, age, and so on).

Designing Your Pumpkin Carving Contest Survey

If you’re taking your pumpkin carving contest voting online, there’s no better tool than SurveyLegend. All you need to do is to ask contestants to take pictures of their pumpkin creations and send them to you. Then, upload all of the pumpkin images into your survey and share your survey link with others to collect votes. SurveyLegend will automatically tally up the votes in real time, which you can display live on your event page if you like to make the contest more fun and engaging. Ultimately, our free online survey tool will help you determine the pumpkin carving contest winner!

To make your pumpkin carving contests for Halloween, follow this step-by-step guide.

Steps to Creating Your Pumpkin Carving Contest Survey in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Login to your account
  2. Add a new survey, and navigate to the CREATE step.
  3. Use our picture-based question type (“Picture Selection”) by clicking on it.
  4. Click on the picture selection question that was just added, and then click on the “upload” button.
  5. Select all of your pictures at once from your computer, and then hit upload. Wait until the upload process is complete for all images.
  6. If you like, change the layout and size of pumpkin pictures using the settings on the left-hand side. You can also choose whichever voting type you prefer. People usually use the “Ranking” voting type and let people vote for their top 3 favorites. 
  7. Go to the DESIGN step to change the look and feel of your survey (for example, you can choose a dark theme or upload your own background).
  8. Go to the CONFIGURE step and give your Halloween contest a good name so that you remember it. Also make sure you have this setting ON: “Limit number of participations” which will make sure people cannot vote multiple times to influence results.
  9. Finally, continue to the SHARE step, copy your competition link, and send it to your audience using SMS, Email, Facebook, Slack or whatever platform you like.
  10. When the distribution of your best pumpkin for Halloween is done, go to Live Analytics and watch as the results come in.

If you’re holding a live event, you can use video projection to broadcast the live analytics page to all attendees. They can watch, in real-time, as the votes roll in. This makes your Halloween competition super fun!

Considering a costume contest and need a voting platform? Check out our blog and survey examples for Halloween costume contests!

Pumpkin Carving Contest with Images

Here’s a look at a pumpkin carving contest survey created using SurveyLegend. Pumpkin images for each contestant were uploaded and a spooky background and whimsical font were added in the DESIGN stage.

Halloween Photo Contest

Ready to create your pumpkin carving contest voting form? Start now with SurveyLegend – and have a happy Halloween!

Do you hold pumpkin carving contests? How do you normally select a winner? Will you be using SurveyLegend this Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


How do you host a pumpkin carving contest?

Most hosted contests provide contestants with pumpkins and carving tools to make things fair. To determine a winner, people vote (often online). Contests can be held for fun or for cash prizes or other incentives.

Who is the fastest pumpkin carver?

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Steve Clarke, a teacher from Pennsylvania, holds the record for carving a pumpkin at just over 16 seconds.

How do people vote in a pumpkin carving contest?

The easiest way to vote for the winning pumpkin is through an online ballot that includes images of each pumpkin creation. SurveyLegend is the perfect free online survey tool for doing this.

About the Author
A born entrepreneur, passionate leader, motivator, great love for UI & UX design, and strong believer in "less is more”. A big advocate of bootstrapping. BS in Logistics Service Management. I don't create company environments, I create family and team environments.