Here is my huge collection of free pumpkin carving stencils along with my easy pumpkin carving tips and ideas for the best Halloween jack-o-lantern ever.
Autumn brings cooler air, falling leaves, and fun decorations. In fact, Halloween is the second most decorated holiday, just behind Christmas, and it’s getting bigger every year.
Every fall, Jack-O-Lanterns greet guests and trick-or-treat from the doorstep or windows. Pumpkins don’t have to be limited to the outdoors and carving them is easy if you know a few tricks.
To some, pumpkin carving can be one of those stressful moments where it seems like you can’t do anything right. This may seem like an unavoidable thing, but it doesn’t have to be. Pumpkin carving can be a very easy and enjoyable thing if you follow these simple methods.
Easy Pumpkin Carving Tips For Halloween
Instead of carving pumpkins with just a knife, there are other easy ways to achieve special effects and decorate like an expert.
Jack-O-Lanterns are a natural choice for easy decorating, their flickering glow and fun faces can make Halloween fun, spooky, or both. Your family and kids will love these easy pumpkin carving ideas.
Tips For Easy Pumpkin Carving For Beginners
- Before cutting your pumpkin, wipe it off with a wet paper towel and then dry it with another so there is a nice, clean surface on which to work.
- Cut the lid into a keyhole shape so that it is easily replaced and also leaves more room for scooping out the innards and placing lighting.
- Use a back and forth, small sawing motion with a serrated knife to cut out pieces.
- Pumpkins start to fade fairly quickly after being cut, so to prolong their appearance, after carving, rub a little petroleum jelly along the edges of the lid and on any cutouts.
- To prolong Jack-O-Lantern life, store cut pumpkins in the refrigerator when not using them, especially if they are being used inside for table toppers.
- If children are involved, cutting should always be done under the supervision of an adult.
Do I need a pumpkin carving kit?
Pumpkin carving kits certainly aren’t necessary, but they do make working with pumpkins easier and faster.
Inexpensive and easy pumpkin carving kits and templates found at craft and variety stores usually include a small serrated saw, scoops, and pokers that work better than a kitchen knife for cutting out the design.
I highly recommend getting a pumpkin carving kit, especially if you have children who want to help. Not only will they be much less frustrated, but their pumpkin designs will come out looking better too.
Halloween pumpkin carving tool kits usually come with a few pumpkin patterns but more can usually be found on the carving kit’s website. Scroll down to see our collection of printable pumpkin stencils.
Pumpkins Come in Many Colors
Easy pumpkin carving decorations can be made with many of the new varieties of pumpkins and gourds that are available. While our favorite is the white pumpkin, there are many colors beyond the typical orange pumpkin – some are green, cream-colored, and even blue!
Instead of cutting these open, although that works too, this type of pumpkin can be used to create unusual centerpieces and doorstep decorations. Small, circular grooves cut around the entire gourd and painted a complementary color or all one color can make a very pretty piece of art. Circles or decorations can be painted free-form as well.
Find more no-cut Halloween pumpkin ideas below.
Best Collection of Free Pumpkin Carving Stencils Printables
I’ll be honest, before kids, I could not carve a pumpkin for anything. It always seemed that I cut along the wrong spot and the next thing I know I have a gaping hole where the eyes and nose should have been.
Most of my pumpkins never even made it onto the front porch, they were so embarrassing. Luckily the internet offers a solution for people like me, easy pumpkin stencils.
Grab your pumpkin carvers, pumpkin spiced latte or a steaming mug of cider, turn on some bewitching music, and let the pumpkin pattern binge begin!
The Pumpkin Lady has a fantastic collection of free printable pumpkin stencils here.
Be patient as the page takes a while to load and will scroll slowly, but I promise you – it’s well worth the wait. Your pumpkin this year will thank you!
Spookmaster.com has more free pumpkin stencils than you can shake a broomstick at.
Sectioned off into categories like traditional favorites, sports teams, animal kingdom, other stuff and mix’n’match, I’d be surprised if you didn’t find something to suit your fancy there.
If you like scary pumpkin carving patterns, I’d look here first. They have a really fun haunted house design that would work well for a large pumpkin.
If you’re looking for something less traditional and perhaps doesn’t involve actually cutting or slicing poor, defenseless pumpkins, take a look at our Unique Halloween Pumpkin Ideas post for patterns and inspiration.
CoolMomTech has rounded-up a bunch of the coolest free geeky pumpkin carving templates I’ve seen yet.
PumpkinPile’s free pumpkin designs can make anyone an amazing pumpkin artist.
Sadly not free, but if you’re looking for some really specific jack o’lantern carving stencils from your favorite stories or pop culture, Zombie Pumpkins might be the place for you.
Martha Stewart has a great collection of almost 50 free pumpkin patterns and easy pumpkin stencils printables.
I really like the ideas on this site because the designs are much more artistic and interesting than your traditional carved Halloween pumpkins.
Many of the designs are no cut/carve which also makes them easier in my book! I’m a huge fan of pumpkin painting and many of the ideas are kid friendly too.
If the above wasn’t enough for you, you won’t believe the variety of easy pumpkin carving templates you’ll find at The Dating Divas.
There are silly, scary, funny, and angry jack ‘o lantern faces and other designs of just about anything you can imagine, from celebrities to your favorite Halloween image – 75 fun designs and counting.
Best of all, these pumpkin carving stencils printables are all free!
Cookie Cutters for Easy Carving Halloween Pumpkins
Cookie cutters are some of the cheapest pumpkin carving tools and come in many, many shapes, sizes, and themes. Some people already have a standard set in their kitchen that includes circles, stars, and other basic shapes.
Specific designs can be purchased at any major retail or cooking supply store. Even bargain stores sell sets for less than a few U.S. dollars. Metal cookie cutters are best but aren’t required.
Some delicious pumpkin recipes to try
- Pumpkin Jack-O-Lantern Pop Halloween Treats
- Amazing 5 Minute Pumpkin Spice Latte Mini Cake in a Mug
- Ridiculously Delicious Layered Pumpkin Coconut
- Paleo Friendly Pumpkin Waffles Recipe
- A Healthier Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Simply press the cookie cutters into the outer skin of the pumpkin. The cookie cutters won’t go all the way through, but really all you need is for it to make an impression. It’s a quick replacement for using a stencil or template.
Once you have made the impression outline with the cookie cutter, then you can finish the job with your pumpkin tools.
Cookie Cutter Pumpkin Carving Ideas
There are a ton of cookie cutter pumpkin carving ideas online. Here are a few you can try.
Moon and Stars Pumpkin
Using the circles and stars cookie cutters can create an eerie or elegant effect. Make one pumpkin with just stars and another with a scattering of a few stars and use the circle to imprint, but only cut out 2/3 of the circle, into a crescent shape moon.
Group three or four varieties of moon and star pumpkins together on the doorstep or on a tabletop for a centerpiece. Add some grapevine or branches entwined through the pumpkins with some colorful fall leaves to complete the look.
Which Witch Face
Turn the traditional Jack-O-Lantern face into a friendly or scary witch with a few simple easy changes. More pointed eyes and a long, thin nose. Or for a completely different effect, find a flat-sided pumpkin, lay the pumpkin on its side, cut the bottom off instead of the top.
Use the pumpkin stem as a gnarly nose and carve eyes and mouth around the stem. Place a wig or hat on top and add green smoke to create an impressive witch!
Bring Shelley’s Frankenstein to life with an easy pumpkin carving face. Simply use two large cookie cutter circles for the eyes. When cutting out, add a little length to the upper right and bottom left of each circle to create an oblong, off-center circle shape for the eyes (see picture).
Cut two small circles for the nose and then sketch the mouth with a series of connected chubby T or cross shapes, starting at mid-eye on one side, drawing the mouth down and around and up to the other side of the pumpkin, ending mid-eye.
Sketch the word B-O-O-! freehand or use stencils to carve out. Another fun way to write out BOO! is to use four pumpkins and write one letter and an exclamation point on each.