Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without a glowing jack-o-lantern to get you and your family into the spirit. This crafty right of passage is also a great way to bring the family together and have some fun and laughs as you channel your DIY creative abilities.
To inspire you and your budding artists, we’ve brought together some trending pumpkin design ideas to help you get the pumpkin rolling. From simple no-carve options to more elaborate jack-o-lanterns that may require you to take the lead, there’s a little something for every level of crafter.
Let’s get this pumpkin parade started!
Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas
From classic, scary and Disney designs, here are 35 Halloween pumpkin decorating ideas.
1. Here Kitty, Kitty Pumpkins
The carving is minimal for this family of felines, but the effect is amazing. Whether you’re buying your pumpkins from a patch or at the store, look for elongated gourds to make the cat body and smaller gourds for the heads (which you’ll carve the eyes into).
A coat of spray paint will turn them black. Then add some construction paper ears and a tail from the craft store, throw in a tea light, and you have a pumpkin that’s truly the cat’s meow!
2. Lollipop Pumpkin
This lollipop pumpkin was featured on Woman’s Day, and we love it. It pulls double duty as a jack-o-lantern and a candy dispenser. First, hollow out the pumpkin and carve out the classic face of your choice. Then use an awl to poke holes across the top and sides of the pumpkin to hold the lollipops. It’s a truly hair-raising idea!
3. Skeleton Jail
There’s no fine carving required for this fun idea. If you’re working with younger kids, help them remove the face of the pumpkin and then set them to work hollowing out the inside. A few wooden skewers will serve as the bars to the cell, and you can pick up your prisoner at your local craft store.
Just hope there’s not a jailbreak on Halloween night!
4. One-Eyed Pumpkin
This creative pumpkin of creepiness is actually fairly easy to recreate. The trick? A painted white pumpkin is placed inside the larger gourd to serve as the eyeball. It’s the jack-o-lantern that says, “Here’s looking at you, kids!”
5. Ghoul Pumpkin
Looking for a no-carve idea? This painted pumpkin is great for beginners. It doesn’t require a carving knife but still feels appropriately spooky for Halloween. All you need is some black and white paint and a steady hand or a stencil. You could even use a faux pumpkin from the craft store! But even if the face doesn’t come out exactly symmetrical, who cares! It will up the scare factor!
6. Owl Pumpkin
Tired of overly spooky pumpkins? This pick is a real hoot! To make your owl, carve out some round circles for the eyes and then scrape away the skin one to two inches around the holes. Then embellish the eyes by gluing some sunflower or even pumpkin seeds around the edges.
Next, scrape away little crescent moons to put a little detail in the owl’s chest. And be sure to hold onto the circles you carved out for the eyes, as they can serve as wings! Too cute!
7. Sweet Treat Pumpkin
We absolutely love this idea that uses candy corn, chewing gum and jelly beans to create a truly sweet jack-o-lantern. Just carve out the eyes and a nose and set to work with some glue. Does anyone really eat candy corn anyway?
8. Zip Your Lip Pumpkin
Embellishing your pumpkin’s mouth with a zipper from the fabric store is a great way to add some character and a touch of spookiness to your jack-o-lantern. The eyebrows can also be painted or glued on to cut back on carving.
Related: 19 Halloween Decor Items That Will Never Go Out Of Style
9. Spidey Pumpkin
Paint your pumpkin red, and you have the perfect canvas for this superhero pumpkin. The spider web can be made with black paint or a magic marker. And although the eyes on this pumpkin are painted on, they can also be carved out if you want to put a candle or LED light inside.
10. Hide-and-Seek Pumpkin
Carve off the top half of a large pumpkin, and you have the perfect hiding place for another smaller gourd, some skeleton hands, or any other scary Halloween surprise you’d like to put inside. A few wooden skewers will hold up the lid and allow for a little game of peek-a-boo!
11. Polka Dot Pumpkins
These cute polka dot pumpkins come together with just a little patience and a good drill bit. You can handle the drill and leave cleaning out the inside of the jack-o-lantern to your kids for these pretty polka dot pumpkins. Want to add a little more character? Try some fun patterns! These designs are spot on!
12. Clown Pumpkin
Is there anything scarier than a creepy clown? Older kids may enjoy this frightening pumpkin that can be achieved with a little paint and fake hair. Hopefully you’ll still be able to sleep at night.
13. Cookie Cutter Pumpkins
Hate the basic pumpkin carving stencils that come with every store-bought kit? With the help of a cookie cutter and a mallet, you can add some great designs to your pumpkins without having to carve them out one by one. This first idea uses stars and crescent moons, but you can let your imagination run wild with your favorite cookie cutter shapes!
14. Killer Pumpkin
Carve a wide mouth on a larger pumpkin and place a smaller gourd inside to execute this killer cannibal idea. Kids will eat it up!
15. Mini Pumpkin Spiders
Just add some pipe cleaner legs and some button eyes to some small, hollowed out gourds to achieve this creepy, crawley idea!
16. The Midnight Pumpkin
Sometimes all you need to put a new twist on a classic design is a little paint. This moody pumpkin will help bring out the dark side of Halloween!
17. All in the Family Pumpkins
We love the idea of creating a pumpkin family with a little paint and some succulents. Extra points for whoever creates the pumpkin that looks most like their doppelganger!
Related: How Old Is Too Old To “Trick Or Treat”? [Someone Has To Ask]
18. Masked Pumpkins
Putting a mask on your pumpkin is another great way to add some flair to your jack-o-lantern. You can buy them pre-made or cut them out of felt. We don’t know what it is, but the white ones really give us goosebumps!
19. Mummy Pumpkins
This mummy pumpkin will take a little more time to carve, but the end results will be worth it! No white gourds around? Just use some paint!
Prefer to keep it simple? With a little gauze and some googly eyes, mummy’s the word for this little jack-o-lantern.
20. Cinderella Pumpkin
Yes, this pumpkin carriage is a bit elaborate, but it will make a fun project for your favorite Cinderella fan. With a tiara, a bit of tulle and some plastic jewels, you can bedazzle a gourd until it’s magically transformed into a ride worthy of any princess.
21. Monsters Inc Pumpkin
For this nod to an animated favorite, hold onto those pieces of pumpkin you carve out and use them for horns.
22. Glitter Pumpkin
Take your pumpkin from frightening to fabulous with a little glitter. Make that a lot of glitter! Got a kiddo with allergies? Teal pumpkins are a way to show allergy-safe goodies, including glow sticks and small toys.
23. Minions Pumpkins
Those mischievous minions fit right into the spirit of Halloween, and there’s more than one way to slice the pumpkin on this one. If you want to keep it simple, try a little paint and some googly glasses.
Want to tackle a bigger project with your kids? Get out those tools and start scraping for this adorable minion pumpkin!
24. Baby Yoda Pumpkins
It’s hard to get enough of baby Yoda, especially on Halloween. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, you can get the job done by downloading a stencil.
Or, grab your paints and set to work on creating your own little green fella.
Does your little one already have a Grogu doll? Then use a pumpkin to fashion his intergalactic ride!
25. Flower Pumpkin
Bring some flower power to your pumpkin if you want to emphasize fun over fright on Halloween night.
26. Puffer Fish Pumpkin
With two fortune cookies for a mouth and candy kisses for spines, this puffer fish pumpkin is adorable and delicious!
27. Elvis Pumpkin
Okay, this king of rock and roll pumpkin is probably more for adults than for kids, but grownups get to have a little fun on Halloween, too, right? All you need is felt, a pair of sunglasses and a little black paint.
Want to dial it up? Add a pompadour!
28. Hello Kitty Witch Pumpkin
Up the cute factor on Halloween with this adorable, no-carve option for a Hello Kitty witch. All you need is a little bit of paint, some felt and a pointy witch hat. We guarantee hearts will be melting on Halloween.
29. Count Jack-o-Lantern
Don’t feel like tackling a big pumpkin or some elaborate pumpkin carving patterns? Then buy some mini pumpkins, carve out a mouth and add some glow in the dark vampire teeth, and you’ve got yourself a mini ghoul!
30. Day of the Dead Pumpkins
Have a kid with an artistic streak? These vibrant Day of the Dead pumpkins can be created with some paint, stencils and silk or plastic flowers. Perfect for a Halloween fiesta!
But if you want to make sure your pumpkin gets truly glowing reviews, be sure to cut out some eyes and put a candle inside!
31. Pikachu Pumpkin
Is your little one obsessed with Pokemon? Then try this no carve pumpkin that only requires a little paint, some construction paper and some felt.
But if you and your kids want to get your hands dirty, you can also carve a Pikachu as well.
32. Attack of the Little Gourds Pumpkin
If you’re up for a bigger project, this idea is hilarious and scary at the same time. Carve some pointy teeth into smaller gourds and attach them to a larger jack-o-lantern. Take this pumpkin as inspiration for his terrified face, or come up with one of your own.
33. Nerdy Pumpkin
To make this nerdy pumpkin, you’ll need a pair of glasses and a little bit of wire from the craft store to mock up the braces. Before you know it, you’ll have an overachieving jack-o-lantern on your hands. Trick-or-dweeb!
34. Scary Pumpkin
It’s amazing how just adding a few toothpicks to the mouth of a classic jack-o-lantern can really dial up the horror!
35. Cute Cat Pumpkin
This adorable little cat is actually pretty simple to carve. Just hold onto those extra pieces from your other pumpkins to make the ears and paws.
We hope our roundup of absolutely smashing pumpkins has given you loads of ideas for carving or painting an amazing Halloween jack-o-lantern. If you plan to get a jump on the festivities, storing your carved pumpkin in the refrigerator at night can help it last longer.
Another alternative to keep those pumpkin faces from falling is to dilute a little peppermint oil or peppermint castile soap (which are antifungal) with water and spray your jack-o-lantern with it.
With a little inspiration from our pumpkin collection, we know that your mantel or front porch will look especially festive for your Halloween party this year. Here’s wishing you and your kids a spooky and fun Halloween!
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