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71 Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas for Halloween

From spooky to sweet, these pumpkin carving ideas are sure to turn heads this Halloween.

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Illuminated carved Jack O Lantern At Night for halloweenTanja Streuber/Getty Images

Halloween pumpkin carving ideas that are a scream

Halloween is one of the best holidays for decor. There’s so much you can do with all the decorations, and there’s one staple decoration that has endless possibilities: the jack-o-lantern.

A jack-o-lantern is a pumpkin that has a design carved into it. Some people use pumpkin carving templates to design their pumpkins, while others decide to free-hand it and draw their own designs. There are so many pumpkin decorating ideas out there, though, so how do you know which direction to go? If you’re stuck, here are some pumpkin carving ideas to help you get the creative (and spooky) juices flowing.

Spider pumpkin

This is a unique jack-o-lantern idea anyone in the family can carve! Grab a pumpkin and some black pipe cleaners to get started. Get a look at our favorite family Halloween costumes.

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Boston Holds Pumpkin FestivalJoe Raedle/Getty Images

Where the Wild Things Are–inspired pumpkin

Let the wild rumpus start! This fun pumpkin carving is sure to get some smiles. Pick the best pumpkin from the best pumpkin patch and get started on this piece of Halloween art.

Carved pumpkin with haunted houseBrandon Goldman/Getty Images

Haunted house pumpkin

Here’s a boo-tiful and creative pumpkin carving idea that makes an impression in the neighborhood. Bonus points if you incorporate the haunted house theme into your other Halloween decoration ideas.

scary tree carved into a pumpkinKristine T Pham/Getty Images

Scary tree pumpkin

Carve a couple of these and you’ll have a scary jack-o-lantern forest to display. By the way, don’t miss these easy Halloween crafts your kids will love to make.

Cute bat pumpkin

A great idea for the kids! This cute bat will look great on your porch or stairs. Try out these DIY Halloween costumes for kids while you’re crafting with them.

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Wizard of Oz characters carved into halloween pumpkinsROBYN BECK/Getty Images

The Wizard of Oz pumpkin

If you’re a pumpkin carving all-star, this idea is for you. Use this unique idea to pay tribute to the classic film and impress those trick-or-treaters! Speaking of films, here are the best Halloween movies that’ll give you chills and thrills.

Star-gazing cat pumpkin

This is a purr-fect pumpkin carving idea for the whole family! In addition to pumpkin carving ideas, here are more great outdoor Halloween decorations to try this year.

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Skeleton made of halloween pumpkinsTIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images

Skeleton pumpkin

This is a creative design sure to make people do a double take when walking past your yard. Here are the origins of some of the spookiest Halloween monsters.

Pac-Man pumpkin

Go back in time to the days where you’d spend hours in the arcade with this creative pumpkin carving idea! You can also try these no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas.

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Carved pumpkins in line spelling out "happy Halloween" on front lawnSAUL LOEB/Getty Images

“Happy Halloween” pumpkins

Carve this fun message into your pumpkins this year and place them on hay bales in your yard, or even on your front porch. Here are some great options for Halloween door decor.

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scary mummy pumpkin decoration for halloween ROBYN BECK/Getty Images

Mummy pumpkin

Flex your creative carving skills with this scary good idea! The trick-or-treaters are sure to be impressed.

Pug pumpkin

What a paws-itively adorable design!

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Close-Up Of Jack O Lantern On Window Sill During HalloweenT L/Getty Images

Chomping pumpkin

You can walk on the scary side with this pumpkin design. All you need is a normal-sized pumpkin, a small pumpkin, and some creativity.

pirate carved pumpkin for halloweenMediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/Getty Images

Pirate pumpkin

This pumpkin design is sure to shiver a few timbers.

Mickey Mouse pumpkin

Make Halloween magical with the beloved mouse—perfect for the family who loves all things Disney, just like these Disney Halloween costumes.

Dobby face carved pumpkinSOPA/Getty Images

Dobby pumpkin

Harry Potter fans, this one is for you! Pay tribute to everyone’s favorite house-elf with this pumpkin.

a unicorn carved into a pumpkin with a candle insideSOPA/Getty Images

Unicorn pumpkin

Much like the unicorn itself, this pumpkin carving idea is a rare beauty.

Spotted and painted halloween pumpkin decorations Natasha Breen/Getty Images

Spotted and painted pumpkin

This pumpkin idea is pretty simple, but effective. You’ll need paint of your choice, a pumpkin carving kit, and some candles to make this unique design.

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halloween pumpkin decorated with flowersIuliia Bondar/Getty Images

Flower pumpkin

A sweet and simple idea for this year’s pumpkin. Put a hint of spring in this fall decor piece!

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Pokémon Squirtle pumpkin

Have some Pokémon fun this Halloween by carving a Squirtle pumpkin. Bonus points if you also include Pikachu and Charizard pumpkins in the lineup.

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Jack O' LanternDiana Haronis/Getty Images

Witch pumpkin

Stir up some toil and trouble with this pumpkin carving idea!

Black cat pumpkin

This adorable pumpkin design pays tribute to a classic symbol of Halloween—cute and festive!

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The shining themed halloween pumpkinGeoff Kirby/Getty Images

The Shining pumpkin

Here’s Johnny! This creative pumpkin carving idea is inspired by the classic horror movie. Flip it on while carving this pumpkin for some extra spooky ambiance.

a cheese burger pumpkin for halloweenSarsmis/Getty Images

Burger pumpkin

This is definitely an out-of-the-box pumpkin carving idea. Plus, it’s pretty simple to carve and put together!

Zombie pumpkin

Spooky + the undead = a great jack-o-lantern idea.

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ghost carved pumpkin for halloweengdrayson/Getty Images

Ghost pumpkin

Simple and ghastly, this pumpkin idea will make your porch or yard extra ghoulish this Halloween.

Jack O' Lanterns Halloween Pumpkin that says trick or treat exopixel/Getty Images

Trick-or-treat pumpkin

If you don’t want to go too scary, this cute design simply welcomes trick-or-treaters at your door.

Owl pumpkin

You could say this design is a real hoot.

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fall leaves carved into pumpkinsBrandon Goldman/Getty Images

Fall leaves pumpkin

This is a pumpkin carving idea where you can get as creative as you want. In the end, you’ll have a lovely jack-o-lantern that depicts beautiful fall foliage.

Vampire pumpkin

A fang-tastic design!

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goofy face carved into a halloween pumpkinpicture alliance/Getty Images

Goofy pumpkin

Get a little goofy with this funny pumpkin design if you want to get a couple of laughs this Halloween.

Ghostbusters pumpkin

Perfect for when there’s something strange in your neighborhood.

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cresent moon carved into a pumpkinAnadolu Agency/Getty Images

Spooky moon pumpkin

You’ll have one of the most unique pumpkins on the block with this design.

Smiling Carved pumpkinCathy Scola/Getty Images

Smiling pumpkin

Cheese! This is a cute pumpkin carving idea that’s sure to get some smiles.

Witch carved into halloween costumeSean Duan/Getty Images

Witch’s brew pumpkin

See what the witch is cooking up in this creative carving.

carved pumpkins impaled on a scary fenceBernie DeChant/Getty Images

Impaled pumpkins

If you’re looking for a unique and creepy pumpkin idea, this is the one to go for. It’s simple but effective, and perfect for those who want to incorporate their fences into their Halloween decor.

Close-Up Of Scary Halloween PumpkinHalilcan Atik/Getty Images

Toothpick teeth pumpkin

Sometimes accessories are your best friend when it comes to making a truly frightening jack-o-lantern. Stick toothpicks in the carved eyes and mouth of your pumpkin for an extra scary look.

Halloween pumpkinsVictoria J Baxter/Getty Images

Heads will roll pumpkin

Skeletons will roll in their graves with this skull-shaped carving idea.

Lighted Halloween Pumpkin Jack o Lantern Wearing Covid PPE Mask On Stepscglade/Getty Images

Mask up pumpkin

This pumpkin carving idea is reflective of the times. Although some things are still uncertain, reading these corny Halloween jokes is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone.

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Jack-O'-Lanterns!Diana Haronis/Getty Images

Light it up pumpkin

All you need are some colored tea lights to add some extra pizzazz to your pumpkin and other creepy yard decorations.

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Halloween pumpkin carved in a heart shapeTetra Images/Getty Images

Lovestruck pumpkin

Show off your love for Halloween and all of its traditions with this heart-shaped carving.

Close-Up Of Illuminated Jack-O-Lantern On StreetMichael Perrucci/Getty Images

This Is Halloween pumpkin

Do we have to spell it out for you?

Jack O' Lantern Rebecca Sue Laflam/Getty Images

Puppy love pumpkin

Dog lovers everywhere will love this reminder of their pup on Halloween. Get your pooch in on the Halloween fun with the best Halloween costumes for dogs.

Carved pumpkin with math equationBrandon Goldman/Getty Images

Pumpkin pi

This one is for all you math wizards out there.

starry eyed carved pumpkinOlga Yefimova/Getty Images

Starry-eyed pumpkin

Chances are you may turn a little starry-eyed too looking at all these creative carvings.

Mad Cat lantern shine on Halloween night.Csaba Tökölyi/Getty Images

Mad Catter pumpkin

The cat’s out of the bag with this one. Turn your pumpkin into a devilish feline this season. And turn your cat into…well, any of these great Halloween costume ideas for cats!

Nightmare Before Halloween pumpkinRichard Newstead/Getty Images

Nightmare Before Halloween pumpkin

This pumpkin carving idea is sure to give anyone nightmares; after all, it is inspired by Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas (one of our favorite Disney Halloween movies).

Trash panda paradise pumpkin

While you most probably won’t want to run into any real-life raccoons on Halloween night, you most certainly will want to use this adorable stencil.

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Harry Potter pumpkin

This one is for all you wizards and witches out there: It’s time to celebrate Halloween, Harry Potter style.

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Dinosaur Pumpkin Carving Stencilvia Spooktober/

Jurassic pumpkin

For the dinosaur-obsessed, this pumpkin carving stencil is sure to be a hit.

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Spider web pumpkin

If spiders are a little too creepy and crawly for you, opt for a spider web carving. Still plenty of spook factor, but with a bit more sophistication.

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Chucky reincarnated pumpkin

This pumpkin carving idea is (literally!) child’s play when using a quick and easy stencil.

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Mummy time pumpkin

No need to get all wrapped up in carving preparations…this mummy stencil is here to save the day.

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Jack-Sparrow-Lantern pumpkin

Everyone’s favorite captain from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise will take a break from sailing the high seas and instead enjoy a nice vacation on your front-stoop pumpkin.

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Fangs out pumpkin

Boo! Did this tiger’s fangs scare you?

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Tigger pumpkin

The wonderful thing about pumpkins, is pumpkins are wonderful things! Turn your pumpkin into a T-I-double guh-errrrrr.

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Slasher pumpkin

Turn your pumpkin into a truly haunting sight by stenciling on murderer Michael Myers from the hit Halloween movie franchise.

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Winnie the Pooh pumpkin

He’s Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh…and he’s on a pumpkin! Don’t let this orange squash around any honey.

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Boxer pumpkin

And yes, we’re talking dog and not WWE. Just look at his little face!

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Witchy antics pumpkin

I’ll get you, my pretty…and your little pumpkin, too!

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Howl away pumpkin

Awooo! Hear any spooky noises in the middle of the night?

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Creepy clown pumpkin

This creepy clown stencil puts the “scary” in “scary season.”

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Scooby Doo pumpkin

Pumpkin Scooby Doo, where are you? Right here!

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Ghost emoji pumpkin

Boo! This ghost emoji carving is certainly more cute than creepy.

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Bald eagle pumpkin

Because it’s always a good time to exhibit American pride.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pumpkin

Whether you’re more of a fan of Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, or Leonardo, you’ll want to get your hands on this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stencil for your pumpkins ASAP.

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My Little Pony pumpkin

Friendship isn’t the only thing that’s magic; check out this My Little Pony pumpkin stencil.

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Baby Yoda pumpkin

May the Force be with you this Halloween season.

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Hats off pumpkin

(Witch’s) hats off to you for finding this creative carving craft!

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Jack-o-lantern with a noseAntonio M. Rosario/Getty Images

Pumpkin “nose” best

Turn a pumpkin on its side and use its stem for a nose for this innovative carving idea.

Carved lit pumpkin for HalloweenGaelle Beller Studio/Getty Images

Boo! pumpkin

While sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes all it takes is three letters to let everyone know you’re ready to celebrate the spooky season.


Kelly Kuehn
Kelly Kuehn is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest covering entertainment, trivia, and history. When she’s not writing you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music, and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout New England.
Lucie Turkel
Lucie is a lifestyle and culture writer covering the latest in holidays, books, movies and television, and e-commerce for She graduated with an individualized major in Comparative Literary & Cultural Studies from the University of Connecticut.