There's no need to forage for a mushroom stencil for your Halloween pumpkin; you've found one right here!

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Tired of plain old smiling jack-o'-lantern faces? Carve a set of fun polka-dotted mushrooms into your front porch pumpkin instead! Proudly proclaim your favorite reason for a woodsy stroll by carving these fungi's tall stems and broad, spotted caps on your porch pumpkin. Our free stencil will help you carve, etch, and scrape the detailed design into your pumpkin for a festive look.

And, with a little extra help, you can keep your carving looking fresh all season! Spread a thin layer of Vaseline ($4, Target) on the carved areas to keep them from rotting. And if  your mushroom pumpkin is starting to look droopy and shriveled, give it a cold-water bath to revive it. Just dunk the whole pumpkin in a cooler of ice water for up to eight hours to rehydrate and firm up.

Pumpkins carved as bug houses
Credit: Adam Albright

How to Carve a Mushroom Pumpkin

Supplies Needed

  • Pumpkin (fresh or artificial)
  • Free stencil
  • Carving knife
  • Scraper tool
  • Pin tool
  • Etching tool
  • Battery-operated tea light candle
free mushroom stencil pattern

Step 1: Clean Out Pumpkin

Clear out the inside of your pumpkin by scooping out the fibrous strands and seeds with a stiff metal spoon or scoop. Pare down the inside portion of the pumpkin you're planning to carve by scraping it to a 1-inch thickness.

Step 2: Attach and Pin Stencil

Secure your mushroom stencil to the pumpkin's exterior with clear tape ($3, Target), flattening the paper with your hands as best you can. Perforate the stencil lines with a needle tool, piercing through both the paper and the pumpkin skin underneath. Hint: Keep pin holes closely spaced, ideally within 1/8 inch of each other. Remove the pattern.

mushroom stencil
Credit: Jay Wilde

Step 3: Carve Mushroom Design

Use the tools in a pumpkin carving kit ($11, Target) to etch and carve the design. Etch the mushroom spots and cap line with a chisel or razor blade, removing the pumpkin's top layer of skin from these areas. Carve areas surrounding the mushrooms by using a thin knife to saw completely through the pumpkin wall, following the pin hole cutting guide.

Nudge the carved sections outward by pressing on them from inside your pumpkin. Give your mushrooms a pretty backlit glow by placing a battery-operated candle ($5 for six, Walmart) inside the pumpkin cavity.

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