October 19, 2021

Halloween pumpkin carving basics with 35 inspiring ideas

October 31 is fast approaching—have you got your Halloween pumpkin figured out? Pumpkin carving is a great way to have some simple family fun. Your only limit is your imagination!

Read on for the basics on how to choose, prep and carve your pumpkin, and check out our 35 Halloween pumpkin ideas for inspiration.


The first step is to find the right pumpkin. Top tip: ignore your kids’ pleading and wait a bit before buying your pumpkin, as it might be rotten by the time Halloween comes around—a week or two before the big day should be fine.

Choose a firm pumpkin with smooth skin that sounds hollow when tapped. Try to find one with a flat base so it won’t roll on its side. (Otherwise, you’ll have to give it some feet.)

Don’t stress if you can’t find a perfectly round pumpkin. As you’ll see in the ideas below, a funny-shaped pumpkin can be an opportunity to give it some real personality.

If the pumpkin is dirty, clean it with a wet cloth.

Make sure you have everything you need before you start carving:

  • A thin, sharp knife (special pumpkin carving knives are available in stores)
  • A felt pen to draw on the pumpkin (a non-permanent marker is best)
  • A large spoon to scoop out the insides
  • Paint (if you want to colour your character)
  • Accessories (depending on the design)

You will also need to prepare the work surface by laying down a large sheet of plastic or some newspaper. Remember, pumpkin carving can get messy. Giving your kids aprons to wear will save their clothes a trip to the washing machine.

Time for surgery

When everything is ready, start by drawing the cut lines on the pumpkin skin. Then cut a “lid” on top of the pumpkin to gain access to the inside (cut in a different area if you want to use the stem for your character’s nose).

Adults should do the cutting, as pumpkin flesh can be tough.

Next, remove the pumpkin seeds and fibrous strands using the large spoon. If you don’t want these parts to go waste, set them aside to use in a delicious meal.

The next step is the most fun: cutting your design into the pumpkin before inserting a candle and adding other bits and pieces, like Halloween pumpkin painting and decoration.

Original Halloween pumpkin ideas

What style of Halloween pumpkin are you after—scary, funny or surprising?

Whether you’re carving one or several pumpkins, your only limit is your imagination! To help you get creative, we scoured the Internet and found 35 Halloween pumpkin images you’ll love, to draw inspiration from.

1.      The classic Halloween pumpkin design, jack-o’-lantern:

Classic https://pin.it/4WVzpR7 

2.      The classic with a twist:

Classic with a twist https://pin.it/3YCDgWg 

3.      The cutie:

Cute https://pin.it/7uhZKYy 

4.      The “I ate too much candy”

Pumpkin vomiting https://pin.it/9YvHomn

5.      The surprise:

Surprise https://www.womansday.com/home/crafts-projects/g950/funny-pumpkin-carving-ideas/?slide=1

6.      The witch:

Witch https://pin.it/6tta8lO

7.      The multi-purpose:

Multi-purpose (No.4) https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g279/pumpkin-carving-ideas/?slide=4

8.      The vampire:

Vampire (No. 20) https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g279/pumpkin-carving-ideas/?slide=20

9.      Meow! (Halloween cat pumpkin):


10.   The cannibal:

Cannibal https://pin.it/17LISca

11.   The nasty appetite:

Nasty appetite https://pin.it/7DPadAF

12.   The curly head:

Curly head https://pin.it/322rd8A

13.   The house:

House https://pin.it/4MqIWEc

14.   The prison:

Prison https://pin.it/5FggmlW

15.   The lamp:

Illuminated pumpkinhttps://pin.it/6GtM0Rl

16.   The scarecrow:

Scarecrow https://pin.it/2Q1BDF5

17.   The Halloween Nemo movie pumpkin:

Nemo fish https://pin.it/5tCiBfy

18.   Down on the farm:

Cow (farm) https://pin.it/10Yg8v8

19.   The Happy Halloween Pumpkin:

Olaf (Frozen) https://pin.it/N6mzqmB

20.   The “no fun” trio:

Trio https://pin.it/3pnGwtU

21.   The unlucky one:

Black cat https://pin.it/66SdY5M

22.   The zombie:

Zombie https://pin.it/2nOePd9

23.   Monsters, Inc.:

Monster inc https://pin.it/5gkyQyK

24.   The western:

Western https://pin.it/1bUAAVt

25.   The mousetrap:

Mousetrap https://pin.it/7GzSQZ4

26.   The owl:

Owl https://pin.it/5UPrPOE 

27.   The day of the dead:

Day of the deadhttps://pin.it/4P4baIm

28.   The piggy bank:

Piggy bank https://pin.it/67dT9L9

29.   The Kombi:

Kombi https://pin.it/FxDToUV

30.    The “Can I come out please?”

Hiding place https://pin.it/29vqCIb

31.   The pumpkin gone crazy:

Crazy one https://pin.it/4KsJtSM

32.   The mummy:

Mummy https://pin.it/1ICW6bI

33.   The Death Star:

Death Star (Star Wars) https://pin.it/1ftbEBz

34.   The nerd:

Nerd https://pin.it/1wZoS63

35.   Your worst nightmare:

Worst nightmare https://pin.it/A72dhBE

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See also:

3 Tips for Turning Your Pumpkin into an Ornament

Decorating Your Home for the Fall Season

DIY Decorations for Your Yard

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