Creative Pumpkin-Carving Ideas and Patterns

black eyed pumpkin
Carve distinct character into this year's jack-o'-lanterns with these creative pumpkin-carving ideas and patterns. Our free pumpkin stencils, designs, and instructions will turn your plain pumpkin into a memorable Halloween piece of art. Get inspired by these Halloween pumpkin carving ideas today!

Side-by-Side Pumpkin Idea

Anchored by tiny nails, a white web highlights the carved opening in a black pumpkin. For fun, pair it with a contrasting white orb shouting "BOO!"

Carve the Spiderweb Pumpkin:
Hollow out one large pumpkin; spray-paint black. Transfer the free pattern to the pumpkins and use a knife or carving tools to cut out. Tap in pin nails along the outside edges of the spiderweb opening. Wrap white string around the nails to create the look of a spiderweb with straight anchor threads and a spiral thread running through the middle.


Carve the Boo! Pumpkin:
Hollow out one medium pumpkin; spray-paint white. Transfer the free pattern to the pumpkins and use a knife or carving tools to cut out.

Somber Ombre Pumpkins

Create this stylish setup in a flash by decorating pumpkins with white and metallic spray paint.

Carve the pumpkins:
Hollow out a variety of pumpkins in various sizes, shapes, and textures; spray pumpkins with black paint. Spray over the top of the black paint with silver- and gold-metallic paint, covering about one-half to two-thirds of each pumpkin. Let dry after each color application. (Alternate colors involve spraying pumpkins with a first coat of metallic paint and a second coat of white paint.) Copy multiple leaf and diamond shapes from our patterns and carve on some of the pumpkins.

Carved Pumpkin Houses

Mice -- or other tiny critters -- might come trick-or-treating when you set up miniature haunted houses made from plump pumpkins.

Carve the pumpkins:
Hollow out three pumpkins -- one medium, one tall, and one fat and squat. Transfer the free patterns to the pumpkins and use a knife or carving tools to cut out. Using the photo as a guide, embellish the carved pumpkins -- pushpins become door handles, miniature fences add homey charm, and permanent markers add shutters and other graphic details.


Editor's Tip: Use different types of carving tools to accomplish the various sizes of cutouts for this design.

Halloween Car and Camper Pumpkins

Take a Halloween road trip with this pumpkin car and camper duo. This is one of our top pumpkin carving ideas ever!

Carve the pumpkins:
Transfer downloadable patterns to your pumpkins. Cut out the windows and windshield before using a gouging tool to outline the car and camper doors. Cut out a small rectangle under the camper door, and wedge a scrap of pumpkin for the threshold. Embellish the car and campers with wheels, door handles, and curtains using pieces of small, colored gourds; secure with toothpicks. Cut out a stripe along the camper and insert a long strip of gourd to finish.


Editor's Tip: When cleaning out your pumpkin, cut the opening on what will be the bottom of your finished design.

Get your pumpkin ready to carve with a quick clean-out. We've got the secret to carving (Hint: work from the bottom up).

How to Clean Out a Pumpkin

The first step to any pumpkin-carving project is simply preparing and cleaning out your pumpkin. Watch to learn the secret to Halloween pumpkin carving, and soon you'll easily be creating cool pumpkin designs in no time

(Hint: We start from the bottom!).

Pumpkin Pileup Idea

Ready, set, stack! Colorful pumpkins shine with personality, especially when you match each pattern to the color and shape of each gourd.

Carve the pumpkins:
Hollow out four pumpkins in various shapes, colors, and sizes. Transfer the free pattern to the pumpkins and use a knife or carving tools to cut out all patterns except the eyebrows -- use a gouging tool to add eyebrows. Stabilize the bottom pumpkin with rocks or sand; stack the pumpkins from largest to smallest, leaving lids with stems off on all but the top pumpkin.

Classic Pumpkin Carving

Go back to basics with our classic pumpkin-carving idea.

Carve the pumpkin:
Download our pattern, enlarging or reducing the size to fit your pumpkin. Tape the pattern to the pumpkin, and transfer the design by poking holes through the outline of the pattern. Remove the pattern. Carve the outline areas. For best results, carve from the center outward. Leave the cutouts in place until you're done, then push out the cutouts from the inside of the pumpkin.

Peek-a-BOO! Pumpkin

Liven up your Halloween scene with an adorable carved and embellished pumpkin.

Carve the pumpkin:
To make the design, cut along the top of your pumpkin to make a lid; set aside. Hollow out your pumpkin. Using our hand pattern, trace two hands onto black felt and cut out. Using crafts glue, attach the two hands to the pumpkin. Adhere large googly eyes in place using crafts glue.

Cat and Mouse Pumpkin Design Ideas

This adorable cat's sly grin means one thing: Bring on the chase!

Carve the pumpkins:
Choose a smaller pumpkin to carve its furry nemesis, and decorate your front porch with a playful game of cat and mouse. Simply download the free patterns and transfer to the pumpkins, then use a knife or carving tools to cut out the features for each face. Using the pattern, cut two cat ears from black felt; glue or pin above the cat's eyes. Carve fuzzy whiskers using a gouging tool to finish.

Skeleton Key Pumpkins

Unlock the spirit of Halloween with these eerie, old-fashioned skeleton key pumpkins.

Carve the pumpkins:
Transfer the free downloadable carving patterns to your pumpkins and use a knife or carving tool to cut out the two smaller key designs. A gouging tool easily carves the large key design into your pumpkin.

Cage Dwellers Pumpkin

Turn your pumpkin into a pretty birdcage this fall. 

Carve the pumpkin:
Transfer the downloadable pattern onto a white artificial pumpkin. Using a knife or carving tools, cut out the areas between the cage bars, including the doors. Holding the doors in place, insert straight pins through the horizontal bars above and below the doors, pushing the pins into the doors for easy opening. Paint the designated pattern areas black; let dry. Drill a hole through the stem and thread a metal ring through the hole. Thread ribbon through the ring and tie in a bow. Hang pumpkin from ribbon if desired.

Editor's Tip:
Cut the opening on the back of the pumpkin and secure the lid with toothpicks after a candle is in place.

Learn how to carve a pumpkin! Our easy tutorial takes you through the clean-out and the carving, with time-tested tips on using pumpkin stencils.

How to Carve a Pumpkin

Get our insider secrets for carving pumpkins this Halloween! Whether you're going for advanced and creative pumpkin carving ideas or simply sticking to easy pumpkin carving designs, here's what you need to know!

"Knock on Wood" Pumpkin

Make trick-or-treaters take a second look with this clever pumpkin carving designed to look like a spooky tree trunk.

Carve the pumpkin:
Download the free pattern and transfer it onto your pumpkin. Use a gouging tool to carve the words and wood grain; use a knife or carving tool to cut out the knots.

Bottle-Carved Halloween Pumpkins

Raise a glass (or a bottle) to All Hallow's Eve with these sophisticated pumpkins.

Carve the pumpkins:
Transfer the free pattern downloads to your pumpkins. Carve out the top and bottom areas of the glasses, then outline the center area of each glass and the bottle. Outline the decorative details on the glasses; gouge the areas inside the outlines and around the details until smooth. Outline the label and the bottle curlicues; lightly gouge the rest of the area inside the bottle outline to make it smooth.

Editor's Tip: Carve these intricate designs in artificial black pumpkins for easy, reusable decor.

Haunted Mansion Pumpkin

Creating this spooky haunted mansion pumpkin only looks difficult! With this fun pumpkin house design, you're sure to have tons of trick-or-treaters stopping by your home.

Carve the pumpkin:
Transfer the free pattern to the pumpkin and use a knife or carving tools to cut out. Paint the house black.



Bird Brain Pumpkin

This jack-o'-lantern is for the birds. Try this too-easy and too-cute pumpkin carving idea this Halloween.


Carve the pumpkin:
Transfer the free pattern to the pumpkin and use a knife or carving tools to cut out. Cut the lid with a zigzag edge. Wind wire around the feet of the artificial birds, position them as desired (using the photo as a guide), and poke the wire ends into the pumpkin to secure the birds in place.

Carved Crow Pumpkin

Create this eerie crow pumpkin carving to set out on Halloween night. The watchful painted bird is perched on the sill of a "window" carved into a bright orange pumpkin.

Editor's Tip: After completing the design, spray with varnish to set the paint.

Mr. Mummy Pumpkin

Create this screamworthy mummy pumpkin by carving oddly shaped slits into the surface of a green pumpkin. His piercing black marble eyes will keep any trick-or-treater on their best behavior.

Share the gallery

All Topics in Pumpkin Carving

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.