Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Jack-o-lanterns carved from hard-shell gourds are long-lasting.
David Beaulieu
  • 01 of 15

    Halloween Icons

    This jack o lantern has a ghost face.
    David Beaulieu

    Pumpkin festivals are a terrific source for pumpkin carving ideas. These pictures were taken at the old Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire (U.S.). Each year, the city of Keene tries to break the world record for most carved pumpkins assembled in one spot (it held the record several times, most recently in 2013). Creative people from miles around brought their carved pumpkins to the festival, hoping to be a part of history. If you attend such festivals, all you have to do is keep your eyes open to acquire a multitude of creative ideas.

    The pictures below represent just a small sampling—some of the jack-o'-lanterns viewers most enjoyed at this particular festival. This is just one part of a series on pumpkin carving ideas that you can consult.

    Do you feel the need to go beyond carving the traditional jack-o'-lantern face on your Halloween pumpkin? Here's a pumpkin carving idea: Carve one of the iconic Halloween figures on your pumpkin, instead. The carved pumpkin picture above shows an example; what bigger Halloween icon is there than the ghost? In the next three pictures, we will see pumpkins on which other famous Halloween symbols are used.

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  • 02 of 15

    Halloween Cat Jack-o'-Lantern

    A Halloween cat jack-o-lantern.
    David Beaulieu

    In the prior picture, the Halloween icon used in the pumpkin carving was a ghost. But the Halloween cat is right up there with the ghost as an elite symbol of Halloween. In the next picture, we'll look at another example of a Halloween icon carved on a pumpkin, in lieu of the standard jack-o'-lantern face.

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  • 03 of 15

    Frankenstein Pumpkin

    Frankenstein face on carved on pumpkin.
    David Beaulieu

    From a ghost to a black cat to another Halloween icon. Frankenstein is a natural to replace ol' Jack on a Halloween pumpkin.

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  • 04 of 15

    Phantom of the Opera Pumpkin

    This Phantom of the Opera jack-o-lantern face could double for a Western theme, with its cowboy hat.
    David Beaulieu

    The Phantom of the Opera could be considered a "second-tier" Halloween icon. Not as popular as ghosts, black cats or Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera is still plenty appropriate for Halloween.

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  • 05 of 15

    Jack-o'-Lanterns With Big Mouths

    This awesome pumpkin carving features a pumpkin who's "all teeth."
    David Beaulieu

    In the next few pictures we'll be looking at jack-o'-lanterns whose mouths are their prominent feature. The handsome fellow in the photo above has quite the set of teeth.

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  • 06 of 15

    Laughing Pumpkin

    This jackolantern has been carved so as to make his teeth most prominent.
    David Beaulieu

    Another jack-o'-lantern with a big mouth. But this pumpkin face seems to be laughing more so than smiling.

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  • 07 of 15

    Smiley Face Pumpkin

    This Halloween jack-o-lantern has put on a happy face.
    David Beaulieu

    This pumpkin has "smiley face" written all over it. Except that the smile is crooked—as you would expect for Halloween.

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  • 08 of 15

    Pumpkins With Big Tongues

    Pumpkin carving idea: carved eye becomes tongue.
    David Beaulieu

    The next three pictures provide pumpkin carving ideas that focus on prominent tongues. In the picture above, the tongue comes from the flesh cut out for an eye or nose hole. The rest of the face is carved to be white (using a Dremel tool, probably), making the orange tongue stand out all the more.

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  • 09 of 15

    Pumpkins That Are "All Tongue"

    Looking at this big-tongued jackolantern, it's hard not to think it's a Mick Jagger pumpkin.
    David Beaulieu

    Looking at this big-tongued jack-o'-lantern, it is hard not to think that it is supposed to be a Mick Jagger pumpkin. Here, the method for forming the tongue is the reverse from that in the prior picture. In this photo, it is the tongue that is carved white, using a Dremel or similar carving tool.

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  • 10 of 15

    Funny Pumpkin Design

    Tongue carved out in funny pumpkin design.
    David Beaulieu

    The tongue on this funny pumpkin face is created via a more typical approach. The flesh around it is merely carved out, leaving a tongue.

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  • 11 of 15

    Non-Traditional Jack-o'-Lantern

    Picture of pumpkin face carved in profile.
    David Beaulieu

    The face in a pumpkin carving need not be head-on. This picture shows a nicely carved profile of a woman.

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  • 12 of 15

    Pumpkin Carved "Inside-Out"

    Ol' Pumpkin Head looks quite contented in this photo.
    David Beaulieu

    This pumpkin could be said to have been carved "inside-out." That is, the flesh in the eye, nose and mouth areas is left untouched. It is the flesh across the rest of the face that is carved away (with a Dremel or similar tool).

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  • 13 of 15

    Thinking Pumpkin Head

    This Halloween pumpkin looks to be concentrating really hard.
    David Beaulieu

    In earlier photos, we saw examples of pumpkin heads carved in such a way as to accentuate the mouth. Here, however, the carving accentuates the eye area. This pumpkin head seems to have "thinking" wrinkles around his eyes, as if thinking really hard on some matter.

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  • 14 of 15

    Pumpkin Head With Mustache

    Photo of jackolantern with moustache.
    David Beaulieu

    The classic jack-o'-lantern is clean-shaven. But this pumpkin head decided to be different and sport facial hair.

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  • 15 of 15

    Pipe-Smoking Carved Pumpkin

    This Halloween jack-o-lantern smokes a pipe -- his own stem!
    David Beaulieu

    Snowmen are often designed as pipe smokers. So why not pumpkin heads? A "pipe" is readily available: the pumpkin's stem, after it has been cut off from the top of the pumpkin.