History of Halloween
The jack-o'-lantern is believed to have originated from an Irish myth about Stingy Jack, who played tricks on everyone. When he died, Jack was denied entry into both heaven and hell and was forced to roam the world as a ghost who carried a lantern made from a carved turnip.
Working with a pattern? Scale it to fit the size of your pumpkin by using a photocopier to enlarge or shrink the design. Tape or pin the pattern on the pumpkin in the desired spot, then use a tracing wheel, awl, or pin to transfer the pattern.
For precise cutouts, place the pumpkin in your lap, using one hand to anchor it and the other to carve. The trick is to go slow and use gentle pressure while cutting.
When carving a face into the pumpkin, always cut into the corners first. This will keep pieces such as the teeth and eyes from cracking or breaking off.
Jack-o'-Lantern Ideas and Templetes
Our free pumpkin-carving stencils feature designs you'll love, from pumpkin faces to dog-breed designs to printable templates of favorite Halloween icons. Use our pumpkin patterns to create cute or creepy pumpkin jack-o'-lantern faces. To carve them, simply log in at BHG.com (or register -- it's free!), then open the printable pattern and print. Size the pumpkin pattern on a copier if needed. Tape it to your pumpkin, and poke the outline of the pattern with a pin before carving your masterpiece.
More Jack-o'-Lantern Crafts
Papier Mache Halloween Pumpkin
Skip the pumpkin patch and handcraft your own smiling jack-o'-lanterns this Halloween. The trick to these pumpkins is layering strips of tissue paper around a balloon. Download patterns
Made from a papier-mache-covered balloon, this pinata holds a pumpkin full of treats. Download patterns
Halloween Jack-o'-Lantern Party Favors
Fill this decoupaged-crepe-paper pumpkin shell with shredded paper and wrapped goodies for little ones to enjoy. Download patterns
Halloween Jack-o'-Lantern Scarecrow Yard Decoration
Decorate this pumpkin scarecrow with a flock of artificial ravens for an eerie Halloween yard display. Download patterns