Patriotic pride: How to carve the ALA emblem on a pumpkin

This post was such a hit last year, we are running it again just in time for Halloween. Happy carving! 


Looking for a fun way to show your love for the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization? Check out these instructions for carving an American Legion Auxiliary emblem on a pumpkin!

On a scale of easy, moderate, or difficult, this pumpkin carving will be difficult, said Brandon Holloway, an OIF veteran, Legionnaire, and pumpkin-carving enthusiast. Children should have adult supervision for doing this craft.

Holloway carved the design pictured below for ALA National Headquarters a few years ago, and it was a big hit.

IMG ALA Pumpkin

You’ll need about three hours of time from start to finish, Holloway said, because of the American Legion Auxiliary emblem’s many design elements, as well as the carving style used for this type of pumpkin design. Bonus: Learn more about the ALA emblem and its symbolism here: ALA_Emblem_Breakdown-lp.

Medium to large plump, round pumpkins work best with the ALA emblem’s shape. Here’s what else you’ll need:

  • Tools:
    • Any pumpkin-carving kit from your local store should work, but Holloway prefers an X-ACTO knife and a small, flat screwdriver for chiseling.
    • You’ll also need a thumbtack.
    • Large knife for removing the pumpkin’s top, plus a spoon for scooping out the seeds.
    • Short strand of white or clear holiday lights.

Carving steps: Cut around the outer edges of the ALA emblem, and tape it to your pumpkin. Use the thumbtack to poke holes around the emblem’s design elements – now you’re essentially tracing the shape onto the pumpkin. Use your preferred chiseling tool to scrape the pumpkin’s skin from each of those design elements. Be careful not to injure yourself!

Now it’s time to remove the guts from your pumpkin. This step is done after you’ve picked away at the outer skin layer, Holloway said, because the pumpkin can become damp and soft, making carving dull and difficult. After you’ve removed a substantial amount of the pumpkin’s inner walls, insert your holiday lights. Be aware of potential fire hazards. Make sure to unplug the lights at night or when you will be away from the display for an extended period of time.

If your ALA emblem isn’t bright enough, simply shave more from the outer walls.

And that’s it! You’re ready to jump right into the Halloween spirit while supporting the branding initiatives of the American Legion Auxiliary’s Centennial Strategic Plan.

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