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.
This will work best with a faux pumpkin (to avoid slimy, stick candy), which means it can be used for years to come!
Carrot noses aren’t just for snowmen, they’re for pumpkins, too!
This little owl gets his detail from big, carved eyes and some purposefully placed seeds from—you guessed it—the pumpkin itself.
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.
Something about the lack of eyes and giant teeth makes this twist on a traditional Jack-O-Lantern particularly creepy…
There are lots of ways to stack and gather multiple pumpkins, but we especially love this smiling assortment.
Not into creepy? This pumpkin is definitely more cute than anything else.
The etched leaves on the sides of this pumpkin are surprisingly chic for a carved gourd, beleaf it or not.
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.
Sure, they’re not witches or vampires, but snakes and frogs can be just as frightening (or beautiful?) in the right context.
The Black Pearl has nothing on this ship made entirely of pumpkin and a couple wood skewers.
We almost feel bad for this poor little pumpkin who’s been trapped inside another, larger gourd.
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?
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.
A round, white pumpkin is practically begging to be turned into a mummy face, complete with creepy eyes and all.
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.
A step up on the traditional shoe box diorama, a faux pumpkin is the perfect place to create a delightful little woodland scene.
This meme speaks for itself.
Got a power drill and various-sized bits? Then you can easily make these lantern-style pumpkins.
Make a couple of holes in varying sizes, add a couple fake mice (or rats!), and this pumpkin’s complete.
Remember how we said squash are just as easy to carve as pumpkins? These friendly ghosts are another great example.
If you’ve got a steady hand and a little time, this floral pumpkin is calling your name.
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?
This carving idea is perfect for the beginners among us, and can easily be done with some cookie cutters and a paring knife.
For fans of Jurassic Park, or just dinosaur lovers.
As easy as poking holes where the stars should be, you can make pumpkins for every zodiac or favorite constellation for the whole family.
Ferns, string of pearls, pothos, and lots of other trailing plants make perfect hair for the inside of a pumpkin head.
For the Star Wars fans out there—the options are almost endless. Death Star, Millennium Falcon, Darth Vader, Yoda… go nuts!
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!
Similar to the pumpkin lanterns, these luminaries in various shapes and sizes are a beautiful way to light a path.