Jack-o'-Lantern Ideas

Make the cutest or creepiest jack-o'-lantern faces this season with our free pumpkin-carving patterns and decorating ideas.


History of Halloween

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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.


Learn more about pumpkin-carving history

Learn more about the history of Halloween

Jack-o'-Lantern Patterns

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Carving Tips

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.

More jack-o'-lantern carving tips

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.

More pumpking-carving ideas

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.

Cutomized jack-o'-lantern stencils

Free Carve-a-Pumpkin app

Jack-o'-Lantern Ideas and Templetes

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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.

Free downloadable pumpkin stencils

Happy-face jack-o'-lantern ideas

Scary, iconic pumpkin-carving ideas

Creative jack-o'-lantern carving patterns

More Jack-o'-Lantern Crafts

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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

Jack-o'-Lantern Pinata

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

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