30 Spooky, Odd & Adorable Pumpkin Carving Ideas

There's something for everyone in this list.

October 14, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Pumpkin carving is arguably one of the best parts of fall right up there with swapping your summer clothes for fuzzy sweaters. Much like dyeing Easter eggs, it’s an activity that involves a whole family or group of friends, and everyone gets to put their unique spin on their own.

In my family, pumpkin carving often becomes somewhat of a contest (even if that’s not explicitly stated) and everyone comes to the table with what they believe is the best, most original idea, and ways to accomplish it. My dad has broken out the drill and a Dremel, and last year, I carved my entire pumpkin using a flathead screwdriver—whatever gets the job done.

If you’re like us, you’re probably plotting your Halloween masterpiece, so we’ve rounded up 30 of our favorite spooky, adorable, and mood-setting pumpkin carving ideas to try this year.

1. Pumpkin Treat Holder

This will work best with a faux pumpkin (to avoid slimy, stick candy), which means it can be used for years to come!

2. Carrot Noses

Carrot noses aren’t just for snowmen, they’re for pumpkins, too!

3. Little Owl

This little owl gets his detail from big, carved eyes and some purposefully placed seeds from—you guessed it—the pumpkin itself.

4. Lace Patterns

This design is not for the impatient, but it is for those who like to take their time carefully and methodically chiseling away at the pumpkin. The end result is pretty amazing.

5. Creepy Smile

Something about the lack of eyes and giant teeth makes this twist on a traditional Jack-O-Lantern particularly creepy…

6. Smiling Stack

There are lots of ways to stack and gather multiple pumpkins, but we especially love this smiling assortment.

7. Batting Eyelashes

Not into creepy? This pumpkin is definitely more cute than anything else.

8. Falling Leaves

The etched leaves on the sides of this pumpkin are surprisingly chic for a carved gourd, beleaf it or not.

9. Spooky Eyeballs

We’ve seen lots of really cool ways to carve a pumpkin inside a pumpkin, but this one is the easiest. A few colorful markers, two pumpkins—an orange and a white one—and you’ve got a spooky new porch decoration.

10. Slithering Snakes and Slimy Frogs

Sure, they’re not witches or vampires, but snakes and frogs can be just as frightening (or beautiful?) in the right context.

11. Pumpkin Pirate Ship

The Black Pearl has nothing on this ship made entirely of pumpkin and a couple wood skewers.

12. Locked Up

We almost feel bad for this poor little pumpkin who’s been trapped inside another, larger gourd.

13. Butternut Squash Snail

Yes, butternut squash are just as easy to carve as pumpkins, so why not combine one with a swirly, twirly shell and make an adorable snail?

14. A House Fit for a Fairy

How precious is this adorable little fairy house? For extra whimsy, make sure to grab green and blue pumpkins to stack and make this masterpiece.

15. The Mummy

A round, white pumpkin is practically begging to be turned into a mummy face, complete with creepy eyes and all.

16. Two-Faced

Instead of going in from the top to open this pumpkin, the side is sawed off to reveal a barely-cleaned interior and a menacing face.

17. Adorable Diorama

A step up on the traditional shoe box diorama, a faux pumpkin is the perfect place to create a delightful little woodland scene.

18. Elmo on Fire

This meme speaks for itself.

19. Pumpkin Lanterns

Got a power drill and various-sized bits? Then you can easily make these lantern-style pumpkins.

20. Like a Mouse to Cheese

Make a couple of holes in varying sizes, add a couple fake mice (or rats!), and this pumpkin’s complete.

21. Friendly Ghost Squash

Remember how we said squash are just as easy to carve as pumpkins? These friendly ghosts are another great example.

22. Delicate Flowers

If you’ve got a steady hand and a little time, this floral pumpkin is calling your name.

23. Dog Doppelgänger

If you adore your dog (and of course you love your dog), what better way to profess your undying love than with a pumpkin in their likeness?

24. Stars in Your Eyes

This carving idea is perfect for the beginners among us, and can easily be done with some cookie cutters and a paring knife.

25. Jurassic Park Pumpkin

For fans of Jurassic Park, or just dinosaur lovers.

26. Constellations

As easy as poking holes where the stars should be, you can make pumpkins for every zodiac or favorite constellation for the whole family.

27. Green-Haired Guys

Ferns, string of pearls, pothos, and lots of other trailing plants make perfect hair for the inside of a pumpkin head.

28. The Death Star

For the Star Wars fans out there—the options are almost endless. Death Star, Millennium Falcon, Darth Vader, Yoda… go nuts!

29. Ice Bucket

Pumpkins aren’t just decorative, they can be functional, too. Using one (or two) as an ice bucket is a festive party addition, and the clean up is so easy—just compost it!

30. Doorstep Luminaries

Similar to the pumpkin lanterns, these luminaries in various shapes and sizes are a beautiful way to light a path.

Which of these pumpkin carving ideas would you try? Tell us below!

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When I'm not writing & editing for Home52, I'm likely to be found DIY-ing a new piece of furniture (or restoring an old one), hanging things on the wall in my apartment, or watching hours of vintage RHONY.

1 Comment

xhille October 17, 2021
Last year I tried something new and sewed my jack-o-lantern's smiling mouth shut! You'll want a small awl to punch holes, a large blunt needle, and plenty of yarn to do so. Make sure to have plenty of slack in your yarn so as not to pull through the pumpkin, and if you're going to have knots, try to put them outside... tying knots inside a pumpkin is really hard.

If your pumpkin is going to be composted, cut the yarn off before tossing it in.