25 Easy Pumpkin Carving Ideas for the Best Jack-o'-Lanterns

skull and crossbones carved into pumpkin
Photo: Jason Donnelly

Carve your own funny, scary, or beautiful pumpkin carvings this Halloween. Your whole family will find plenty to love about these easy pumpkin carving ideas. We have everything from kid-friendly (and easy!) smiling carved faces to gorgeous carved pumpkin monograms for your front entryway. Plus, our free pumpkin carving stencils make these designs super easy to create!

01 of 25

Peek-a-Boo Barn

Hollowed-out pumpkin with cow and pig farm scene
Adam Albright

This farm-inspired pumpkin is all about using your imagination. Carve out a barn-shaped 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, felt, and glue—customize them to look like your favorite critters. Turn kids loose with supplies, and they're sure to fashion an entire farmyard menagerie.

02 of 25

Cheese-and-Mice Pumpkin

Yellow pumpkin carved to look like cheese with mice
Greg Scheidemann

The little ones will get a kick out of the cheeky (and cheesy!) pumpkin carving idea for kids. Simply coat a real or faux pumpkin with soft yellow paint, drill a few different-sized holes, and add plastic mice in various stages of entering and leaving. For safety, use battery-operated candles for illumination.

03 of 25

Twilight Express

Four pumpkins with train carving and paintings
Adam Albright

Choo–choo, choose pumpkins of 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!

04 of 25

Frankenstein Face Pumpkin

Fall décor with carved Frankenstein pumpkin
Carson Downing

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 is the only tool you'll need to get this stencil cut into your pumpkin.

05 of 25

Bat Attack

Pumpkins carved to look like bats
Adam Albright

Felt wings and ears secured with toothpicks transform petite pumpkins into wicked-cute bats. Etch out the eyes, then stick red sewing pins through the center of each to create beady stares. A coat of black paint on the bodies makes the eyes appear to glow even during the day.

06 of 25

Zombie Pumpkin Stencil

hand from grave carved into pumpkin
Jason Donnelly

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.

07 of 25

Cute Owl Pumpkin

Pumpkin with owl carving
Brie Passano

This owl pumpkin design is anything but scary! The details of this free pumpkin stencil include leaves, flowers, and polka dots. Use a drill and traditional carving tools to bring this free pumpkin design to life.

08 of 25

Smiling Jack-o'-Lantern

carved pumpkin silly smiling face
Jason Donnelly

Carve your biggest pumpkin with a broad, 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.

Editor's tip: Rub Vaseline on the carved areas of your pumpkin to make it last longer.

09 of 25

Dragon Pumpkin

Pumpkin with dragon carving
Brie Passano

This dragon pumpkin design breathes fire, which looks almost real once a candle is placed inside. This design plays with a mix of scraping and total carving for different amounts of light in different shapes.

10 of 25

Deer Pumpkin Stencil

deer carving on pumpkin on steps during Halloween
Carson Downing

This easy deer pumpkin doesn't require any actual carving at all! First, transfer the stencil design to the surface of your pumpkin, then use an etching tool from a pumpkin carving tool kit to etch around the silhouette of the deer. Light the pumpkin from the inside for a subtle spooky glow when you're done.

11 of 25

Traditional Pumpkins with a Twist

Carved pumpkins sitting on table
Helen Norman

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 eye-catching focal point.

12 of 25

Angry Face Pumpkin

White pumpkin with scary face carving
Brie Passano

This angry pumpkin has teeth, pupils, and wobbly eyebrows, creating a festive and spooky decoration. Use a pumpkin saw and our free pumpkin carving template to get the look for your front entryway this fall. Don't forget to put a small votive candle inside to illuminate the face.

13 of 25

Flame Pumpkin Stencils

pumpkin fire pit log frame
Blaine Moats

Whether you're carving the flame emoji on a single pumpkin or assembling a DIY pumpkin bonfire, we've got several free flame-shape stencils to choose from. You only need a big carving knife and a spoon to scoop out the insides for this easy pumpkin carving idea.

14 of 25

Easy Pumpkin Trio

Three carved pumpkins on stairs
Adam Albright

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 together to spice up your front entry for trick-or-treaters.

15 of 25

Grinning Pumpkin Grouping

Group of carved pumpkins on hay
Greg Scheidemann

If you have multiple carvers in your household, these silly pumpkin carving ideas are perfect. Each person can create a unique design. This grouping is forgiving of any flaws, with wide grins, big eyes, and goofy expressions—try one or all of our ideas for pumpkin faces to carve.

16 of 25

Monogrammed Pumpkins

Three pumpkins with H carving on black chair
Alexandra Grablewski

To make these pretty monogrammed Halloween pumpkins, decide whether you want to use the initial of your family name or the initials of each family member's first name. Then, let each person pick their own pumpkin in various colors and sizes. Keeping all in the same font will give your family pumpkins Weasley-sweater footnotes. You can print letters in different fonts to mix things up; trace them onto pumpkins and carve or gouge them out.

17 of 25

Pumpkin Luminarias

small carved jack-o-lanterns hanging from hooks
Andy Lyons

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. Hang a series of these carved faces along a sidewalk using heavy-gauge wire and black shepherd's hooks. Skip the candles and use battery-operated lights instead.

18 of 25

Laughing Pumpkin

Pumpkins with face carving and candle
Greg Scheidemann

Your littlest ones will love the good-natured spirit of this easy pumpkin carving idea. The simple pattern makes it easy to cut out the crooked teeth, oversize nose, and expressive eyebrows. For long-lasting light, consider battery-operated candles.

19 of 25

Sly Vampire

sly vampire carved pumpkin with faux ravens
Adam Albright

This smiling vampire stencil could seem scary at first, but he's a friendly, funny monster: just look at that grin! This vampire pumpkin is all fun and games with a hooked nose and dramatic eyebrows. To make this vampire, simply use our stencil as a guide.

20 of 25

Ghost Emoji Stencil

Black pumpkin with emoji ghost carving
Diane Starkey

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.

21 of 25

Flower-Power Pumpkins

Two carved pumpkins with flowers
Blaine Moats

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.

22 of 25

Pumpkin House Numbers

Outdoor stacked pumpkins that have the numbers "142"
Peter Krumhardt

This easy pumpkin carving idea is a great way to welcome visitors to your home this Halloween season. Start by removing 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.

23 of 25

Pumpkin for the Birds

Smiling pumpkin on pedestal crows
Jay Wilde

Your kids will have fun helping pick out accents for this easy pumpkin carving idea. Transfer the pattern onto a pumpkin and cut it out. Make sure to cut the lid with a zigzag edge. Wind wire around the feet of artificial crows 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).

24 of 25

Mice Stencils

Pumpkin with three carved mice
Jay Wilde

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.

25 of 25

Drilled-Face Pumpkins

Three pumpkins carved with drill holes
Steven Randazzo

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.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles