9 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

The tradition of pumpkin carving dates back to ancient Celtic customs practised at the festival of Samhain. During this festival, people would hollow out turnips and carve them as a way to protect against evil spirits. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, pumpkins replaced turnips due to their size and ease of carving. This practice evolved into the modern Halloween tradition of intricately carving pumpkins, now a beloved global custom. Spooky season is upon us so it’s time to sharpen your carving skills. Here’s our top Halloween pumpkin carving ideas!

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

For more Halloween craft ideas check out these adorable Halloween downloadable stickers for kids.

9 Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas
Credit: Melissa Reynolds-James

Joyful Pumpkin 

A classic design that anyone can do, this grinning pumpkin is a great idea for the whole family. Easily carve out eyes in any shape you like before creating the legendary gap-toothed smile that completes this goofy character. Mark your shapes in pen first before you begin carving to make the process that bit easier. Pre-thin out the inner wall of the “face” part to about 1¼ inches thick, so it’s easier to carve through the pumpkin’s skin. There are plenty of printable pumpkin carving face stencils .

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas
Credit: Gaelle Beller Studio

Funky Phrase Pumpkin

Why not think up some spooky phrases for your pumpkins? Boo, Beware and Trick or Treat are of course popular favourites. Draw your chosen words onto your pumpkin before you start. Be creative by printing out funky font stencils or adding a bat carving to your design. These will look particularly fabulous on your front step if you’re expecting trick-or-treaters. Would you rather carve out a pre-made design? Hobby Craft has a range of free printable pumpkin carving templates for you to enjoy!

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Puking Pumpkin

An effective pumpkin design, the sick pumpkin is a quick yet dramatic idea that’ll boost your Halloween decor. Make use of the Pumpkin’s insides by creatively placing them to give the impression your pumpkin is puking its guts up. A simple line design is enough for the eyes and a large rounded mouth is all you need to create this gruesome character. Pumpkin Pile has a great resource offering free-to-download pumpkin patterns with everything from a puking pumpkin to a winking pumpkin and a pirate pumpkin!

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Pop Culture Pumpkin

From the wacky witches in Hocus Pocus to the frightening Freddie Kruger, there’s no shortage of spooky pop culture to be inspired by. Choose your favourite Halloween character and get carving on your best pumpkin. Costume Super Centre has some free classic horror villain pumpkin carving stencils for you to download and print including Pennywise, Jason Vorhees and Ghostface!

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Fiery Pumpkin

Spice up your home with these flame-design pumpkins. Simple yet effective place them by your fireplace with tall candles or tealights to create a cosy atmosphere on spooky autumn nights. Simply carve out the underside of your pumpkins and insert candles underneath. For a cool outdoor display, use these as a mock campfire, adding candles or battery-operated lights to create the warm glow of a campfire. This can be a tricky one to carve by hand so here’s a free flame pumpkin carving template.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas
Credit: BBC Good Food

Two’s Company Pumpkin

Enjoy double trouble with one large brooding pumpkin preying on the other. You can even draw the features on the smaller pumpkin in place of carving to save time and still achieve a great, eerie result. Carve scary features onto your larger pumpkin and smaller, fear-ridden features onto the smaller victim. Find 15 free scary pumkin face carving templates at Printablee.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas
Credit: Kathrin Raedel/EyeEm/Getty Images

Cookie Cutter Pumpkin

Using cookie cutters to carve a pumpkin can be a creative and efficient way to achieve intricate designs and patterns on your pumpkin. Since cookie cutters come in a variety of shapes and designs, this makes it easy to create detailed and consistent patterns on your pumpkin. Carving can sometimes involve sharp knives and tools, so cookie cutters are much safer to use, especially for younger children. They’ll also cut cleanly through the pumpkin resulting in less mess too. Here’s a pumpkin carving with cookie cutters guide from Tany Memme showing just how easy it is!

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas
Credit: Catherine Delahaye

Drilled Pumpkin

Create a true statement with power-drilled pumpkin carving techniques. These designs look particularly special with candles illuminating them. This method allows you to create intricate, professional-looking designs that visitors and passersby will love.  It’s a quicker and less strenuous alternative to traditional hand carving methods, and it’s particularly useful for making small holes, intricate designs, or even creating textured effects on the pumpkin’s skin. It’s essential to exercise caution and wear appropriate safety gear to prevent accidents or injuries, especially with kids around. Here are 10 unique power drilled pumkin ideas.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving ideas
Credit: Martha Stewart

Candy Bowl Pumpkin

Ever thought you could store your sweet treats inside your pumpkin? Well here’s your chance! Create a natural sweets bowl for visitors, kids or just treat yourself to a funky halloween-themed bowl with a difference. These are super quick to make since they don’t require much carving. Use pens and paint to further customise your design. Want to perfect your spooky fonts? Find free printable Halloween letter stencils at Printablee. Use bright spray paints or thick marker pens to fill these in.

How to prepare your Halloween pumpkin:

  • Before you dive into Halloween pumpkin carving ideas, you have to begin with the perfect pumpkin. A fresh pick with a sturdy stem, flat bottom and no bruises gives ideal stability for carving
  • Start carving from the top and angle the lid. This will stop the lid falling inside the pumpkin. Use a boning knife for this step.
  • Make sure to cut from the base rather than the top. If you cut the ‘lid’ from the pumpkin’s bottom, this helps the sides from collapsing.
  • Be thorough when scooping out the insides. There’s no need for specialised tools here – an ice cream scoop will do the trick.
  • Petroleum jelly is ideal to help keep your pumpkin moist. Apply to cut edges and if needed soak in water a few days later for an extra moisture boost.

Looking for eerie places to visit this spooky season? Check out our guide on 13 scary places to visit in Liverpool!

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