60 Easy Pumpkin Carving Ideas That Put Regular Jack-o'-Lanterns to Shame

These ideas are so easy, it's scary.

pumpkin carving ideas
JOHN KERNICK

It's no secret that we love a good carved pumpkin for Halloween, but forget the same old pumpkin decorating ideas you've been doing year after year and take a walk zombie crawl on the spookier side. Mix up your Halloween decorations with our roundup of the best pumpkin carving ideas, all full of fresh inspiration that are so much cooler than the standard, grinning pumpkin faces. Rather than the obvious orange versions, gray, white, terrazzo, or even plaid carved creations make for much more creative fall porch decorations. Draw on these ghoulishly glorious fall crafts for your outdoor Halloween decorations too, and spend the weekend making a boo-tiful pumpkin marquee, a Mason jar-carved pumpkin, and pumpkin lanterns to light the way for future trick-or-treaters. Or, put them to good use around the house in purely genius new ways—a DIY ice bucket, candy jar, pumpkin purse, or terrarium. Give one a try, and you'll have the best-looking creations on the block. Trust us—you’ve never seen pumpkins like this before, and each project is just as scary good as the next. For even more October 31 inspiration, check out the best DIY Halloween costumes for the whole family, along with the most fun Halloween party ideas.

pumpkin carving ideas candy dispenser
Brian Woodcock
Pumpkin Candy Dispenser

Why go for a store-bought candy bowl when you can get creative with this DIY dispenser? We think it's so much more seasonal.

Make the Dispenser: Trace the bottom of a glass bowl or storage container onto the front of a medium pumpkin. Cut out around tracing then scoop out pulp and seeds. Insert bowl, making the hole slightly bigger if necessary. Attach a piece of thick rope around the edge of the bowl with hot-glue. Fill bowl with candy.

SHOP VINTAGE CANDY

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pumpkin carving ideas honeycomb
Brian Woodcock
Honeycomb Pumpkin

Think completely outside the box with this honeycomb design. We guarantee the unique look will impress your guests!

Make the Honeycomb Pumpkin: Cut a hole in the bottom of a medium orange pumpkin; scoop out pulp and seeds. Draw a honeycomb pattern on the front; etch out. Cut out a few of the combs and paint the remaining combs with yellow craft paint. Lean a honey dipper against its side.

SHOP HONEY DIPPERS

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pumpkin carving ideas leaves
SCANDINAVIAN LOVE SONG
Autumn Leaf Carving

Turn your pumpkin into a work of art by using a small knife to gently create leaves. After all, the foliage is one of the prettiest parts of fall.

Get the tutorial at Scandinavian Love Song.

SHOP KNIVES

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pumpkin carving ideas cats
Handmade Charlotte
Cat Drilled Pumpkin

Draw inspiration from your feline friend when dreaming up your carving idea. Rather than using a knife, simply drill the shapes into your pumpkin.

Get the tutorial at Handmade Charlotte.

SHOP PAINT

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pumpkin carving ideas candy jar
In My Own Style
Pumpkin Candy Jar

The only things sweeter than this chalkboard pumpkin candy jar are the treats inside.

Get the tutorial at In My Own Style.

SHOP CHALK SPRAY PAINT

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pumpkin carving ideas vampire candles
Freutcake
Pumpkin Vampire Candles

Look no further for non-tacky Halloween party decor to dress up your fright night. These DIY vampire candles, complete with fangs and "blood," make for a spook-tacular holiday craft that put even Dracula to shame.

Get the tutorial at Freutcake.

SHOP RED VOTIVES

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painted terrazzo carved pumpkin
Jojotastic
Terrazzo Carved Pumpkins

Rather than crafting ghoulish Halloween gourds, turn your pumpkin patch picks into works of art. If you're paintbrush-savvy, you can easily freehand the colorful geometric designs. Otherwise, use stencil paper to outline your own shapes. Finish it off with matching cutouts to let candlelight peek through.

Get the tutorial at Jojotastic.

SHOP STENCIL PAPER

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pumpkin carving ideas leaf candles
Our House Now a Home
Leaf Pumpkins With Candles

We're loving the gray pumpkin look alone, but the leaf-shaped carving makes these decorations totally front porch-worthy.

Get the tutorial at Our House Now a Home.

SHOP CARVING TOOLS

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pumpkin carving ideas diy family
The House That Lars Built
Pumpkin Family

The greatest pumpkin-decorating inspiration of all? Your own family! Use different shapes and sizes to create a gourd replica of everyone in your household, with succulents doubling as pumpkin "hair." And don't worry about free-handing the faces—the tutorial comes with an easy template.

Get the tutorial at The House That Lars Built.

SHOP FINE PAINT BRUSHES

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pumpkin carving ideas marquee
Love the Day
Skeleton Marquee Pumpkin

This blogger recommends carving a faux pumpkin to create her stunning skeletons so you can enjoy them for many Halloweens to come.

Get the tutorial at Love the Day.

SHOP FAUX PUMPKINS

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pumpkin carving ideas purse
In My Own Style
Pumpkin Purse

Your kids can use this cute and easy DIY as their trick or treating bag.

Get the tutorial at In My Own Style.

SHOP CAT MASKS

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pumpkin carving ideas diorama
A Pumpkin and a Princess
Pumpkin Diorama

This spooky scene looks intricate, but it's actually pretty simple to pull off, thanks to spooky figurines.

Get the tutorial at A Pumpkin and a Princess.

SHOP HALLOWEEN FIGURINES

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pumpkin carving ideas boo
Handmade Charlotte
Spooky Drilled Pumpkins

Varying sizes of drill bits makes this boo-tiful gourd a breeze to create.

Get the tutorial at Handmade Charlotte.

SHOP DRILLS

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pumpkin carving ideas terrarium
My Name Is Yeh
Pumpkin Terrarium

Place teeny tiny plants in this carved terrarium to add some unexpected greenery to your Halloween decor.

Get the tutorial at My Name Is Yeh.

SHOP SUCCULENTS

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pumpkin carving beanbag
Brian Woodcock
Bean Bag Toss Carved Pumpkin

Turn your carved pumpkin into a ring toss game that will be a fun activity for the whole family. Cut a large hole in the bottom of one large and one medium pumpkin; scoop out the pulp and seeds. Trace our face template on the pumpkins, scaling up or down as necessary. Cut out the faces, and then stack the medium pumpkin on top of the large one, using skewers to help hold them in place. To play, toss beanbags into your gourds' mouths, awarding 10 points for the bottom and 20 for the top.

SHOP BEAN BAGS

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pumpkin carving marquee
Brian Woodcock
Marquee Sign

Cut a large hole in the bottom of an oblong pumpkin; scoop out pulp and seeds. Carve desired word or phrase—think BOO, WELCOME, or your last name—or download our FAIR template and trace on the long side of the pumpkin, scaling up or down as necessary. Chisel out letters and border. Remove the bulbs from a strand of globe string lights. Cut holes along the border of the chiseled area for the light sockets; insert sockets then bulbs. Plug in lights and prepare to amaze your trick-or-treaters.

SHOP STRING LIGHTS

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glass bead pumpkin carving idea
A Beautiful Mess
Glass Marble Pumpkin Carving Idea

Soften the glow of your jack-o'-lantern this year by popping in pretty glass marbles or gems. Just wait till you see these babies all lit up!

Get the tutorial at A Beautiful Mess.

SHOP MARBLES

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Carved Pumpkin Ice Bucket

Impress the guests at your Halloween party with an on-theme drink display made from a carved pumpkin. Cheers!

SHOP CARVING KITS

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plaid pumpkin carved planter
A Thoughtful Place
Plaid Pumpkin Carved Planter

Or, fill your carved (and painted) pumpkin with flowers for an arrangement that screams "fall."

Get the tutorial at A Thoughtful Place.

SHOP CARVING KITS

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mason jar pumpkin carving
Jennifer Causey
Mason Jar Pumpkin Carving Idea

This ode to the iconic Ball Mason jar features "fireflies" courtesy of string lights. To make it, cut a hole in the bottom of the gourd and scoop out pulp and seeds. Tape transfer paper onto the surface, followed by our downloadable jar sketch. Trace design using a pencil; remove papers. Using an X-Acto knife, follow the transferred image to chisel the outline of the jar onto the pumpkin, then use a linoleum cutter to gently shave the surrounding area as shown. For fireflies, cut several holes with a small clay hole cutter, then illuminate with battery-powered lights.

SHOP LIGHTS

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carved pumpkin diorama 
Trevor Dixon
Carved Pumpkin Diorama

This craft pairs materials from your own yard with an 11¼"W x 14"H black Funkin. To get started, print our carving templates; cut, as indicated, to create stencils for the tree-framed opening and moon at the back. With a felt-tip pen, trace the designs onto your Funkin, then carve. Spray-paint the Funkin's interior black; let dry one hour. Place a green Styrofoam disk inside the faux pumpkin as a base. Using our photo as a guide, stick twigs into the base to form trees, then cover the base with moss. Finally, hot-glue a wolf figurine to a rock, and set it and other rocks atop the moss.

Get the templates.

SHOP PLASTIC WOLVES

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wood burning stove pumpkin carving idea
Brian Woodcock
Wood-Burning Stove Pumpkin Design

No cabin evening is complete without a roaring fire. To assemble yours, cut a hole in the bottom of an extra-large pumpkin, and scoop out pulp and seeds. Trace the door template on the pumpkin, scaling up or down as necessary. Chisel out the outline, and use a knife to cut out the windowpanes. Paint the pumpkin (excluding chiseled section) black. Fill with sticks longer than the hole, and top with battery-operated tea lights. Remove the stems from four small pumpkins, and paint pumpkins black; place stove pumpkin on top. Rest a piece of solid, expandable drain pipe over the stem; attach pipe to the wall or ceiling to help it stay upright.

Get the template.

SHOP TEA LIGHTS

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sunflower pumpkin carving design
Brian Woodcock
Sunflower Pumpkin Carving

Cut a hole in the bottom of two to three pumpkins, and scoop out pulp and seeds. Trace the templates onto pumpkins. Use a knife to cut out the petals and leaves. Starting in the center of the sunflower, use hot-glue to attach different colors of twine in a spiral pattern. For the stalk, attach green twine in a tight zigzag pattern with hot-glue. Remove the stem from the bottom pumpkin(s); stack as shown.(No wilting sunflowers here! Use wooden skewers to secure your stack.)

TIP: When scooping, carve from the bottom so the pretty stems stay intact. It also makes lighting candles easier; simply light and place your pumpkin on top.

Get the templates.

SHOP TWINE

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farm animal pumpkin carving ideas
Brian Woodcock
Hen and Chicks Pumpkin Designs

FOR THE HEN: Cut a hole in the bottom of a large pumpkin, and scoop out pulp and seeds. Trace the hen template. Use a knife to cut out the body and a pencil to lightly trace the comb. Paint comb with red acrylic paint. Tie together several strands of raffia and hot-glue in place to create the tail. Insert a piece of white chicken wire behind the hen's body, then adhere twigs with hot-glue to create legs and feet.

FOR THE CHICKS: Trace the chick template onto a smaller whole pumpkin. Use a potter's needle to indent the outline, then chisel out using a potter's ribbon tool. Insert a black pushpin for the eye; adhere twigs with hot-glue for the feet.

SHOP CHICKEN WIRE

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image
Brian Woodcock
Jigsaw Pumpkin Carving

Cut a hole in the bottom of a pumpkin, and scoop out pulp and seeds. Trace the puzzle template on the pumpkin, scaling up or down as necessary. Use a knife to cut out the puzzle pieces. Use craft paint to paint the puzzle pieces. Challenge kids to complete the puzzle for candy prizes.

Get the template.

SHOP SCULPTING TOOLS

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owl pumpkin carving ideas
Romulo Yanes
Family of Owls Pumpkins

These pumpkins are a real hoot! Use a free template to carve out these owls' faces and then use nut for the ears and feet.

Get the tutorial at Woman's Day.

SHOP MOON LIGHTS

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carving pumpkin with drill
John Kernick
Easy Twinkling Dots Pumpkin

It might look intricate, but this pumpkin is super easy to pull off—you just need a marker and a drill.

Get the tutorial at Good Housekeeping.

SHOP LIGHTS

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carved pumpkin planter
Source
Succulent Pumpkin Carving Idea

Carve a hole in a pumpkin, scoop out the insides, and fill with potting soil and succulents. Makes a cute Thanksgiving centerpiece, too!

SHOP SUCCULENTS

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pick up truck pumpkin carving
Brian Woodcock
Pickup Truck Pumpkin Design

Turn an oblong pumpkin on its side, then trace the template. Use a potter's needle tool to indent the outline. Chisel out the truck's window and outline using a small potter's ribbon tool, then paint truck desired color using acrylic paint. Stain three mini wooden craft sticks with wood stain; cut off rounded ends (reserving two) and cut one in half. Use hot-glue to attach the sticks on truck bed (trimming as needed) to create the railing and rounded ends to create bumpers. Hot-glue buttons for wheels. Attach a toy trailer and fill with mini pumpkins. Take a trip to the hardware store to make a silo. Top a length of 6-inch semi-rigid flexible duct with a 3-inch storm collar then a 1-quart galvanized funnel (tube removed).

Get the template.

SHOP POTTERY TOOLS

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painted pumpkin city jack o lantern
John Kernick
Painted Pumpkin City Jack-o'-Lantern

A passel of pumpkins provides the backdrop for a quaint village scene. First, carve a hole in the bottom of each pumpkin, scoop out the pulp, and return the cut pieces. Print out these house templates. Resize on a copier, scaling the images to fit your pumpkins. Cut out stencils as directed on the templates and affix to pumpkins with masking tape. Trace on the designs with a felt-tip pen. Remove stencils, then carefully carve along the drawn lines of the houses' windows with an X-Acto knife. Fill in the designs using a fine-tip brush and black flat acrylic paint; let dry. Affix a battery-operated votive candle in the base of each pumpkin with adhesive putty.

Get the templates.

SHOP TEA LIGHTS

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