14 Cool Pumpkin-Carving Ideas

Something to Crow About
Forget the traditional jack-o'-lantern this Halloween and instead try these cool contemporary pumpkin-carving ideas! Turn to our collection of cool pumpkin-carving ideas, including cocktail-inspired pumpkins, a pumpkin bonfire, and a batty belfry.

Pug Pumpkin

This carved pugkin is doggone cute. To create, carve a grinning smile and paint the mouth and nose black. Add a brown painted face and add embellishments. White gourds make eyes; green gourds serve as ears. We attached them with wire hangers. Paint a leftover slice of pumpkin red and place it in the mouth as a wagging tongue. 

Knock on Wood

This cool pumpkin-carving idea is equal parts tree trunk and spooky message. It relies on a gouging tool to replicate the texture of wood grain, and a knife or carving tool to create the knots. Use our pumpkin-carving templates or make one of your own.

Antique Keys

These whimsical vintage-inspired keys offer cool pumpkin carvings as inspiration for your seasonal decorating. Transfer the free patterns to your pumpkins, then carve the designs using a knife or carving tool.

Car and Camper

Your car aficionado will love these pumpkin carving designs. Download the patterns and transfer to your pumpkins. Cut out the windows and windshield. Then use a gouging tool to outline the car and camper doors. Cut a small rectangle under the camper door, and wedge in a scrap of pumpkin for the threshold. Embellish the car and camper with wheels, door handles, and curtains using pieces of small colored gourds; secure with toothpicks. Cut a stripe along the camper and insert a long strip of gourd to finish.

Personalized Pumpkins

Greet guests with these pretty, personalized pumpkins. To create a word or name, simply carve small holes in the shape of your desired letters. Insert a clove into each hole, and display the pumpkins together. 

Dog Breed Pumpkin Carvings

Let your friends and neighbors know which dog breed is best by carving cool pumpkin designs that look like your favorite canine. Simply pick your favorite breed, download the pattern, and transfer to your pumpkin before carving.

Elegant Monograms

Welcome guests to your home with these decorative monogrammed pumpkins that are simply elegant. To make your monogrammed pumpkin, print letters (either your initials or personalized pumpkins for each member of your family) in your favorite font. Transfer the designs to pumpkins and carve, either cutting all the way through the pumpkins or gouging out the top layer.

Stacked Pumpkins

When it comes to cool pumpkin ideas, it doesn't get much more amazing than a colorful stack decorated with flowers, swirls, and dots. Find three flat-bottom pumpkins in graduated sizes and different colors. Without hollowing them out, use a 3/4-inch hole-saw bit and drill circles in different patterns and shapes. Switch the resulting "plugs" between different pumpkins for extra pops of color, then use a vegetable peeler to etch the swirls. Finally, remove the stems from the two larger pumpkins and stack them. Elevate them on a pedestal, doorstep, or wooden barrel.

Cocktail Glasses

Great for a Halloween party buffet decoration, as well as a front porch accent, these sophisticated pumpkins are easier to make than they look. Download the pumpkin-carving templates and transfer to two real or faux 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.

Want a Halloween pumpkin that's a bit more sophisticated? We'll show you the steps to carve an initial into your pumpkin.

Video: How to Carve Initials into a Pumpkin

Make your mark on pumpkin carving this Halloween season with a monogram pumpkin display! Learn how to properly carve your initials into any pumpkin.

Pumpkin Bonfire

If you have a little more time, you'll have fun pulling together these cool pumpkin ideas (that are actually pretty hot!). Add the bonfire centerpiece to a backyard table, or use it as a focal point in front. You'll need about 10 to 12 pumpkins and flickering candles to make these flames come to life.

Green Lanterns

Add cool pumpkin carvings to smooth-skin gourds to amp up your decorating repertoire. Choose varieties in distinctive seasonal colors, such as yellows, greens, and reds. To create these luminarias, cut a hole in the side of each gourd large enough for your hand; scrape out the inside. Mark your chosen design on the gourd using a pencil or ballpoint pen. Carve the design with an awl, paring knife, or crafts knife, or use a power drill and different-size bits. Illuminate the gourds with strands of LED lights. They may not have superpowers, but they'll definitely be eye-catching!

This couldn't-be-easier pumpkin-carving method involves a cheap tool and very little time. Sounds like a winning combination for your Halloween display!

Video: Carve a Pumpkin with an Apple Corer

Add even more pumpkin-carving ideas to your decor with these amazing designs using just an apple corer!

Bird Dwelling

Accent this cool birdcage (carved into an artificial pumpkin for a lasting decoration) with a few complementary-color gourds. Download the pumpkin-carving templates and transfer the design; cut the opening on the back of the pumpkin. Cut out the areas between the 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. If desired, hang pumpkin from ribbon. Place a candle inside and secure the lid with toothpicks.

Bats in the Belfry

Architecture takes over in this pumpkin carving, which transforms the orange orb into a Halloween-friendly belfry. Accent your pumpkin with paper or plastic bats, or carve an attic or single window instead of a belfry.

Carved Crow

A combination of black acrylic paint, carving tools, and some cool pumpkin stencils are all it takes to create this Halloween pumpkin. After you cut out the crow and gouge out the windows, paint the bird black. To set the design, spray with varnish.

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