33 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

What is Halloween without at least one night spent digging out the guts of a pumpkin and carving a design that looked much differently in your mind than it actually turned out. Pumpkin carving is a tradition, and a good one! It is a great time to gather with family and friends of any age and get into the Halloween spirit. But, as we always know, pumpkin carving can get a bit competitive. Whether you are the competitive type or your friend is, at least somebody wants to have the most creative and scary pumpkin. We have found some great jack-o- lanterns that will get your creative juices flowing. You can carve your pumpkin just as you see these, or use them as inspiration for another design. Whatever you do, you are sure to impress your friends with your jack-o-lantern this year!


Message Pumpkin

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but a few words can have major impact. Use this pumpkin carving idea to carve a message on your pumpkin. Southern Living Associate Garden Editor Rebecca Bull Reed created this work of art and added the wise words “Spooky is what you think you see.” What do you see?


Expressive Pumpkin

Keep the designs simple, especially when you’re working with children. A crescent moon and a star make expressive eyes. A triangle nose is classic. Tip: Cut the opening in the top at a 45-degree angle so it will have something to rest on. Do not cut straight down, because the lid will fall into the gutted pumpkin.


Masterpiece Pumpkin

You don’t have to stick with traditional holiday images. Create a masterpiece based on something a little more highbrow. A rendition of The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh elevates this pumpkin to museum quality. Create a design like this by scraping away the pumpkin’s outer shell rather than cutting a hole through it. The pumpkin wall should be about 1 inch thick to allow light to shine through.


Create a Silhouette

The black cat is a classic Halloween image, and the rounded opening has the look of a glowing moon behind this fierce feline. Tape a stencil to your pumpkin, and use the tip of a nail or ice pick to poke small holes along the lines of the design. Remove the stencil, and use a sharp knife to cut between the holes.


Stacked Pumpkins

Why should your jack-o’-lantern always be deprived of a body? Stack two pumpkins to give your display more presence. Carve the body to look like a shirt, and give Jack a spiky hairdo.


Polynesian Pumpkin

Add some Polynesian flair to your Halloween gathering. Create a tiki design by scraping away the pumpkin’s outer flesh. Props increase the fun factor. Look for oversize paper umbrellas and drinking straws at a party-supply store.

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