33 Easy Pumpkin Carving Ideas For the Best Jack-o'-Lanterns On the Block
Cat Pumpkin Stencil
Carve your favorite furry friend into your pumpkin this Halloween. This spooky (but not scary) pumpkin carving idea creates a silhouette of a cat against a full moon. Use our free cat pumpkin carving stencil to scrape the design, rather than using a traditional carving method. The thinned pumpkin flesh behind the cat will give the pumpkin a warm glow that looks like real moonlight.
This farm-inspired pumpkin is all about using your imagination. Carve out a barn-shape opening and fill it with mini bales of straw and wee gourd animals. The no-carve cow and pic come to life using outdoor acrylic paint ($2, Michaels), felt, and glue—customize them to look like your favorite critters. Turn kids loose with supplies, and they're sure to fashion a full farmyard menagerie.
Paw Print Pumpkin
Either this paw print pumpkin stencil is a regular ol' dog print that's been enlarged by a factor of ten, or it's a true-to-life werewolf print. Use a pumpkin carving kit ($10, Walmart) and our free stencil to make this Halloween pumpkin. If each of your family members is making a pumpkin, carve an extra for your pet to make your pumpkin family complete. If you're feeling ambitious, use one of our free dog breed stencils to carve one that looks just like your pup!
Turn your front porch into a pirate ship with this easy skull-and-crossbones pumpkin cut out. The partially-carved skull gives a creepy ambiance, while the light of the candle or battery-operated tea light ($4, Walmart) inside shines through the eyes and crossbones. Carve this design into a pumpkin of any color—black will make it look like a classic pirate flag!
The little ones will get a kick out of the cheeky (and cheesey!) pumpkin carving idea for kids. Simply coat a real or faux pumpkin with soft yellow paint, drill a few different-size holes, and add plastic mice in various stages of entering and leaving. For safety, use battery-operated candles for illumination.
Choo, choo, choose pumpkins with a similar size and shape. Cut out wheels and windows, then paint the train cars. This cute-as-pie idea is more freight than fright—what a delight!
Frankenstein Face Pumpkin
Create a Frankenstein monster that's goofy and fun to carve. Our free pumpkin carving stencil makes this pumpkin pattern easy and fun for all ages. A pumpkin carving knife ($12 for a 5-piece set, Walmart) is the only tool you'll need to get this stencil cut into your pumpkin.
Related: 7 Must-Have Pumpkin Carving Tools
Zombie Pumpkin Stencil
Walking Dead fans rejoice—we've got the best free pumpkin stencil for you. Create a creepy zombie hand with a lit background for a shaded and spooky design. Use a lumpy and bumpy pumpkin to complete the undead look.
Cute Owl Pumpkin
Carve your biggest pumpkin with a wide, goofy smile to greet trick-or-treaters as they walk up to your front porch. This classic jack-o'-lantern just has four easy shapes, so you'll have a festive outdoor display completed in no time.
Simple but dramatic is the mantra with these big-eyed jack-o'-lanterns. Pick your favorite eyes from our five templates or freehand pairs. Set pumpkins in a shady area so they look like creatures peering out at trick-or-treaters. Use faux flickering candles ($10, Pottery Barn) to avoid a fire hazard.
This dragon pumpkin design breathes fire, which looks so realistic once a candle is placed inside. This design plays with a mix of scraping and full carving for different amounts of light in different shapes.
Thumbs Up Emoji Stencil
Deer Pumpkin Stencil
This easy deer pumpkin doesn't require any actual carving at all! Transfer the stencil design to the surface of your pumpkin, then use an etching tool from a pumpkin carving tool kit ($11, Walmart) to etch around the silhouette of the deer. When you're done, light the pumpkin from the inside for a subtle spooky glow.
Traditional Pumpkins with a Twist
One easy way to pump up a traditional pumpkin: Forget the orange and try a colorful gourd instead. Here, a green pumpkin transforms a traditional triangle face and crooked grin into an interesting focal point.
Angry Face Pumpkin
Cat and Mouse Pumpkins
What's better than one grinning cat face pumpkin? A little mouse pumpkin to pair with it! Download the patterns for these cute critters below. After carving the kitty, don't forget to attach some black felt ears to make her extra cute.
Flame Pumpkin Stencils
Easy Pumpkin Trio
A new twist on traditional pumpkin carving comes courtesy of this loveable trio of pumpkin ideas. Monster-inspired but without the scary edge, these easy pumpkin carving designs are a perfect complement to good-natured seasonal decorating. Create one or group them all together to spice up your front entry for trick-or-treaters.
Grinning Pumpkin Grouping
To make these pretty monogrammed Halloween pumpkins, first, decide whether you want to use the initial of your family name or the initials of each family member's first name. Let each person pick their own pumpkin for a variety of different colors and sizes. Keeping all in the same font will give your family pumpkins Weasley-sweater vibes. If you'd rather, print letters in different fonts to mix it up; trace onto pumpkins and carve or gouge out.
Light up your walkway for trick-or-treaters this Halloween with miniature pumpkin luminarias. Small to midsize pumpkins work perfectly for this easy carving idea—just hang a series of these carved faces along a sidewalk using heavy-gauge wire and black shepherd's hooks ($8, Lowe's). Skip the candles in place of battery-operated lights.
Scarecrow Pumpkin Stencil
This spooky scarecrow will guard your front porch all season long. This one looks detailed, but since the stencil uses negative space to form the scarecrow figure, you'll only need to actually cut out eight pieces. Carve a simple stitched smile on the figure and your pumpkin is ready to display!
This smiling vampire stencil could seem scary at first, but he's a friendly, funny monster: just look at that grin! With a hooked nose and dramatic eyebrows, this vampire pumpkin is all fun and games. To make this vampire, simply use our stencil as a guide.
Ghost Emoji Stencil
Boo, we see you! For this emoji pumpkin carving idea, don't use just any ghost—use your favorite emoji instead! A playful emoji ghost will make a haunting accent for your Halloween home. Bonus: Our ghost stencil is perfect for pumpkin decorators who would rather etch than carve their designs.
Take an easy pumpkin carving pattern, add flowers and greenery, and voila: floral-enhanced jack-o'-lanterns! Happy faces are quick to carve, and cheery colors add a light and bright touch to this autumn duo. Attach accents with pins, toothpicks, or glue for adorable smiling pumpkins.
Pumpkin House Numbers
This easy pumpkin carving idea is a great way to welcome visitors to your home this Halloween season. Remove the stems from the pumpkins (except for the top one). Trace number stencils onto pumpkins using a crafts knife. Then, chisel the pumpkin skin out of the stenciled numbers, revealing the lighter pumpkin flesh beneath.
Pumpkin for the Birds
Your kids will have fun helping pick out accents for this easy pumpkin carving idea. Transfer the pattern onto a pumpkin and cut out. Make sure to cut the lid with a zigzag edge. Wind wire around the feet of artificial crows ($14, Target), and position them as desired. Poke the wire ends into the pumpkin to secure the birds in place (you also could use fake mice or rats as other seasonal accents).
Give your cat pumpkin something to chase. Complete your pumpkin display with a fun scattering of mice using our free printable pumpkin carving stencils. Group multiple mice on one large pumpkin or carve individual pumpkins for more flexibility in the final arrangement.
Make quick work of easy pumpkin carving with everyone’s favorite tool: a drill. Start with a quick sketch of your design and use a drill with a small bit to create evenly spaced holes on the pumpkin. Tuck in a strand of LED lights for constant illumination.