Mom and daughter carving Halloween pumpkins; pumpkins with cool designs float around them. Image sources: Yukiko Brandley (@_cafeathome), Ashley Ann Cook (@ashleyanncook92) and Robin (@allthingsheartandhome)

Carving pumpkins is always a fun and affordable Halloween tradition, but we know you might need some inspiration to transform them into spooky decorations. We don’t blame you. That’s precisely why we’ve compiled a list of 16 easy pumpkin carving design ideas to infuse this annual activity with some much-needed joy.

From classic jack-o’-lanterns to spooky gourds and trendy designs, your family will be having a full-on pumpkin carving party before you know it! The best part? These easy designs won’t take much time to carve, so you can get back to more *important* duties, like making that candy corn disappear.

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1. Classic Jack-o’-Lantern

Why we love it: Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without a classic jack-o’-lantern, right? You can never have too many of these guys on your doorstep. Not to mention, this design is simple and easy for the whole family to recreate.

How to make it: Start by outlining the jack-o’-lantern’s eyes, nose and toothy smile with a permanent marker. Then, cut a circle around the top and remove the insides with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Keep a bowl nearby and save the pumpkin seeds to snack on later! Use a serrated or paring knife to cut out the features and voilà! Jack is ready to greet trick-or-treaters.

What you need:

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Not confident in free-handing your jack-o’-lantern? Replicate the design with more accuracy using transfer paper. Simply trace an image of a jack-o’-lantern, remove the transfer paper and carve away.

2. Spook-tacular Pumpkin

Why we love it: Get into the Halloween spirit with this not-so-traditional pumpkin carving design. Will it scare away the neighbours? Probably not. But it’s frightening, nonetheless.

How to make it: Rotate your pumpkin on its side so the stem faces you—this will be the face of the pumpkin. For the mouth, cut an upside-down kidney shape around the stem of the pumpkin and remove. Cut out two crescents for the whites of the eyes, leaving the irises intact. Next, hot glue miniature white pumpkins with menacing faces, skeleton hands and black feathers around the top of the pumpkin for a spooky effect.

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3. Chilled Out Pumpkins

Why we love it: Because we know how chilly Halloween night can be. Don’t be surprised if you see some copycat pumpkins just like them on your neighbours’ doorsteps next year.

How to make it: Carve faces into two pumpkins. Place them side-by-side on your porch and give them each a pair of gloves, a hat and a mug of something special.

What you need:

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Drawing creative pumpkin faces can be difficult. Try a pumpkin carving stencil instead, so you and your family can trace to perfection.

4. Perfect Pumpkin Family

Why we love it: A pumpkin carving setup the whole family can take part in from start to finish! Personalize these pumpkins so they represent each family member.

How to make it: Purchase different sized pumpkins and have each person pick the one they want to personalize. Get everyone to sketch an expression on their pumpkin using permanent marker (so it won’t wash away) and carve! Have little ones paint or use a kid-friendly serrated carving tool. Then the fun part: stack your family’s pumpkins in order of largest to smallest (from bottom to top) for an adorably unique front door display. Don’t forget to add tealight candles in each pumpkin!

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5. Ghostly Gourd

Why we love it: This pumpkin is anything but scary, but it still has the ability to get you and your family into the Halloween spirit. Feel free to paint a pumpkin if you can’t find a white one.

How to make it: On a white pumpkin, draw a large circle that covers the majority of the pumpkin face, then draw a silhouette of a smiling ghost inside. Cut around the silhouette and the perimeter of the circle. Remove the excess pumpkin pieces. Be sure to keep the top and the bottom attached. If your knife slips, you can always reinforce your pumpkin pieces with toothpicks. And there you have it—your very own friendly ghost!

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6. Pumpkin Owl

Why we love it: Another not-so-scary pumpkin to get you in the Halloween spirit. Not to mention, it’s sure to be a ‘hoot’ with trick-or-treaters. Get it?

How to make it: On one side of a large pumpkin, outline two large circles for the owl’s eyes. Then, using a linoleum cutter or carving tools, carve off the top layer of the pumpkin in this area. In the centre of each circle, cut two smaller circles to create pupils. Save your seeds, and hot glue them around the owl’s eyes. Next, cut a small upside-down triangle for the owl’s nose and crescent shapes for the owl’s feathers on the lower half of the pumpkin.

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7. Floral Pumpkin

Why we love it: We adore a good fall floral arrangement. What better way to make your blooms festive than by substituting a regular vase for a pumpkin? Sit this pretty display on your doorstep in place of regular planters or use it to compliment your Halloween decorations inside the home.

How to make it: Select an assortment of flowers, either artificial or real. Cut a deep hole in the top of the pumpkin and insert a plastic cup. If your flowers are real, fill the cup with water. Arrange the flowers inside the pumpkin (get the kids involved too!).

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8. Jack Skellington

Why we love it: Beloved Jack Skellington—another classic pumpkin carving idea that fans of The Nightmare Before Christmas will recognize. Put on the movie, gather the family and get creating this spooky character!

How to make it: Start by painting a pumpkin white and let it dry. Then draw two eyes in the shape of tear drops and two smaller tear drop shapes for a nose. Finish with a slightly curved smile with lines straight up and down for an unstitched mouth effect. Optional: Add a Santa hat to complete Jack Skellington’s look.

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9. Pumpkin Town

Why we love it: What’s better than one pumpkin on your porch? A whole town of them. Don’t forget the little pumpkin people that live inside.

How to make it: Cut out a window and door from the pumpkin. Using permanent marker, draw faces on the miniature pumpkins and add a house address above the door. Create a small chimney using a piece of pumpkin scrap and secure it to the pumpkin using a toothpick. Add leaves to the top of the pumpkin. To create the pumpkin town, surround the carved pumpkin with a variety of others, mixing up the sizes and colours—no carving required.

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10. Fall Leaves Pumpkin

Why we love it: Not all pumpkins need to have faces. Celebrate the season by carving an easy outline of a leaf into a pumpkin of your choice. Simple as that!

How to make it: Using an erasable wax pencil, draw the outline of a leaf. Next, simply use a linoleum carving tool to carve out the outline of the leaf on the surface of the pumpkin.

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11. Glass Gem Pumpkin

Why we love it: These DIY glass gem lanterns will add a soft touch to your Halloween decorations this year. Not only that, they’re extremely easy, and very impressive.

How to make it: Hold a glass gem up to your pumpkin and trace around it using a dry erase marker. Repeat this step multiple times until small circles are scattered evenly around the pumpkin. Carve out the circles using a serrated knife or power drill. Squirt some hot glue around the edges of each hole in the pumpkin and carefully insert the glass gems. Place a candle inside and watch your pumpkin glimmer in the night.

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12. Dazzle-y Pumpkin

Why we love it: Not feeling up to carving your pumpkins at all this Halloween? Don’t. Instead, decorate your pumpkins with some dazzling craft supplies. It’ll look like you made an effort, without the mess.

How to make it: If you can’t get your hands on a white pumpkin, a little white spray-paint will do. Once dry, map out circles around the pumpkin, spacing them out about four to five centimetres apart. Use glue to cover the circles and get the kids to press on gold sequins. As a final touch, cover the pumpkin stem in gold paint. Ta-da!

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13. Celestial Pumpkin

Why we love it: With this easy pumpkin carving design, bringing the stars to your doorstep is only a cookie cutter away. Not only are cookie cutters a total time saver when it comes to pumpkin carving, you’ll also be giving your hands a break from carving.

How to make it: Using a hammer (covered with a dishcloth) or a rubber mallet, slowly hammer a star shaped cookie cutter into the flesh of the pumpkin until it goes through completely. Make sure to cut the top of the pumpkin first, so you can retrieve the cookie cutter. Add a tealight candle or LED string lights inside so the stars on your pumpkin can twinkle through the night. To give this pumpkin an even more celestial-feel, spray with gold or silver paint.

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14. Pretty Pumpkin Lanterns

Why we love it: Add a serene ambiance to your doorstep this Halloween, without much work at all. For a design that appears so elaborate, it is surprisingly simple to achieve.

How to make it: Once the inside of the pumpkin has been scooped out, use a permanent marker to draw a pattern of dots. Space out the dots and alternate the dot sizes to your liking, avoiding overlap. Using a serrated knife or power drill, carve holes into the pumpkin where the dots are and place a candle or warm-lit LED string lights inside.

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15. Baby’s First Halloween

Why we love it: So. Much. Cuteness. Need we say more? Just be sure to pick a big enough pumpkin to match your kiddo.

How to make it: Cut off the pumpkin top, large enough to easily to fit your toddler inside. Then, measure two holes near the base of the pumpkin so that your little one’s legs can fit through (this might take a few tries to get right, but it will be worth it!). Carve the first initial of your baby’s name onto the front of the pumpkin using a linoleum cutter.

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16. Rockstar Pumpkin

Why we love it: The arts and crafts aspect of creating this pumpkin will be especially fun for the kids. Play some fun music in the background while creating this super cool pumpkin and let your little ones unleash their inner-rockstar.

How to make it: Using permanent marker, outline two stars for eyes and a small triangle smile. Carve out the smile and use a carving tool, to scrape away the pumpkin surface for the star eyes, then outline them with silver paint. Glue pompoms around the crown of the pumpkin and around the mouth, too.

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How to Carve a Pumpkin the Quick and Easy Way

  1. Find a flat surface with enough space to lay down newspaper/brown paper or a plastic bag to carve your pumpkins on. Set down your carving tools where they are easily accessible, in addition to a large bowl for the pumpkin innards. Opt for a serrated knife as it gives you more control when carving.
  2. Move the knife in a slow back-and-forth motion, as though cutting through a tree trunk.
  3. To create the lid, outline a circle with a 3-inch radius away from the stem with a permanent marker. Cut around the outline, angling the knife tip toward the centre of the circle; this angling will prevent the top from falling into the pumpkin.
  4. Once you have removed the lid, cut the insides off the bottom of the lid, removing the innards and seeds that hang from it. You can separate the pumpkin seeds later.
  5. Next, remove the pumpkin innards using a scoop or a spoon to avoid mess. Begin carving your design on the pumpkin. Be mindful to use a gentle back-and-forth motion with your knife. Toss away cut-out pumpkin pieces as you go.

Save the Pumpkin Seeds for Roasting

Possibly the best part of pumpkin carving is getting to roast the seeds later for a festive snack.

First off, clean the seeds by separating them from the stringy pulp as best as you can using your hands, then run the seeds under cold water. Shake them dry. Do not pat the seeds with paper towel, or they will stick.

Next, dry the seeds, by spreading them on a baking sheet. Bake the seeds at 350°F degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until they turn golden. Drizzle olive oil and your favorite spices, and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, occasionally stirring so that the seeds bake evenly and are coated with oil and spices.

For a tasty pumpkin seed snack, try this Orange Spice Pumpkin Seed recipe.[1]

Pumpkin Carving Design Must-Haves

Article Sources

  1. Foodnetwork.com. Pumpkin Seeds.

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