Want to carve the best jack-o-lantern? Try asking an expert.

Mac Condill is one such expert.

A graduate of Illinois State University who majored in agricultural business, Condill is the resident cucurbit specialist at The 200 Acres, an Illinois farm in the heart of Amish country which has been in Condill's family since the 1800s.

“Cucurbit” is another name for all of the vegetable kings of fall — pumpkins, gourds and winter squash. More than 330 types of cucurbits are grown on the 63-acre Great Pumpkin Patch at The 200 Acres.

And Condill knows each and every one of them.

“He’s become an expert in the field, and has made appearances on Martha Stewart, and is a speaker at the National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California and at the County Living Magazine Fairs,” said Shana Condill, Mac's sister in law. “All that to say, he’s the expert.”

Mac shared some of his favorite tips for making the most out of jack-o-lantern season.


  1. Enjoy the hunt for your unique pumpkin to carve. Don’t feel like you have to use only a traditional orange jack-o-lantern.
  2. Think outside the box: Consider tilting the squash or pumpkin on its side or even using its stem as the nose.
  3. Try a pumpkin transplant: Consider cutting shapes out of a traditional orange pumpkin, and replacing them with shapes cut from a white, blue or red variety to create a colour contrast that will really stand out.
  4. Draw your design on the pumpkin skin with marker or pen, remembering that intricate equals difficult.
  5. Make sure kids get an adult to help execute the design with a paring knife or other utensil.
  6. And as always, be careful with candles.

Downloadable Stencils

Get started carving your pumpkin with one of our spooky Coca-Cola themed stencils. We have one for every skill level.

Coca-Cola Red Disc

Level of Difficulty: Advanced

Download stencil



Coke Logo

Level of Diffculty: Easy

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Contour Bottle

Level of Difficulty: Easy

Download stencil