Updated October 2023

Carved Pumpkins

October is a beautiful month but the ski hills are not open yet and the golf courses are long closed, so everyone in town has a bit more space and free time to relax the mind and get creative for Halloween. It’s not uncommon for someone to spend weeks handcrafting the perfect Halloween costume and the bars and clubs of Whistler Village are a monster mash of spooky good times the entire weekend surrounding October 31.

And it’s not just the costumes, Whistler Jack-O’-Lanterns are no joke either. Forget those triangle eye-holes and clunky square teeth, walking the streets of Whistler on Halloween is like strolling through a pumpkin carving art gallery.

Josee St Armour

Josee St Armour is an ex-competitive mogul skier who came Whistler for the mountains and found that her artistic side became just as inspired as her athletic.

Artist, Josee

“It’s a small community,” she says. “So everyone is influencing and inspiring each other. Artists, painters, fashion, photography…there are so many big events for artists and the Arts Council (Arts Whistler) really helps young artists get established. There are artists here that will change your life’s path. It really is the best.”

Best known for her paintings, Josee began carving highly artistic pumpkins back in the late 1990s and says while there are definitely tips and tricks to her process, the most important thing is to have fun. “Halloween is the most creative holiday so no matter how your pumpkin turns out just try new things and have a good time.”

Here are Josee’s insider tips to help you step up your pumpkin carving game.

Pick a Pumpkin with Character

“Find the ugliest pumpkin you can, to me that is the prettiest. If it has warts or green patches or is not properly round… what ever is awful is perfect for Halloween.”

Let the Pumpkin Guide You

“Let it tell you what it wants to be. Sometimes you don’t know what is going to happen until you start and that is what creativity is about. Chip away to reveal the pumpkin’s character. It’s like sculpture.”

Choose Your Methods

“There are two main ways to carve a pumpkin. The traditional way is to hollow it out, stencil what you want on the shell, cut some holes in it and put a light inside. The other way is to leave the pumpkin whole and carve into it with clay or wood carving tools. This way you can take your time and get way into the carving.”


Pumpkin Carving Process

The Right Tools

“Clay tools are the best but I didn’t have any special tools for these pumpkins, just a knife and a carrot peeler. I think a Dremel would be great for finishing touches but really, the right tools are whatever tools you have.”


“Carve with the natural grain of the pumpkin. It’s like cutting meat, one way will work better than the other and give you more precision.”

Have Fun

“Don’t stress, it’s Halloween—the uglier the better. And don’t be afraid to add props or accessories to your work. There are no rules just don’t quit. Take your time and make a night of it. The non-hollowed out pumpkins will last a while so take a few days if you need. See it through.”

Josee, who now lives on Vancouver Island, says her fondest memories of Halloween in Whistler are the parties, the costumes, and how everyone would create just for the sake of it.

“There is real value in putting time and effort into something just for the love of being artistic and sharing it with people. Carving a pumpkin counts too! Happy Halloween.”

Be Bear Smart

The snowline may be getting lower, but the bears are still out and about and they LOVE pumpkins. Follow Rule # 1 from Whistler’s Bear Smart Society – ‘Don’t Feed The Bears’ – and don’t leave pumpkins or seeds outside where bears will find them (even if you’re not on the ground floor).

Learn more about letting your creative side out of the box with Whistler.com, along with all the event and festival information you need.


Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.