Pumpkin Carving Patterns: Fun Ideas from 27 Free Stencils

Get ideas to get carving: While lots of pumpkin decorating ideas don't involve a knife at all, there's nothing like a light-filled jack-o'-lantern to put that finishing touch on your homemade Halloween decorations. Years of pumpkin carving projects have taught us that it’s much easier to create memorable designs when you start with a stencil. So we found the best pumpkin patterns, from eerie faces to clever emoticons, and turned them into easy-to-use, free carving templates. Print the stencil you like, tape it on your hollowed-out pumpkin, and "trace" the pattern's lines by poking pinholes over them. Then pull the paper off, carve over the pinhole lines, and you’ll have a jack-o'-lantern ready for Halloween. Want to keep the family entertained while you carve your pumpkin? Try popping in one of the best Halloween movies for kids.

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Pumpkin Pattern #1: Wink Wink!

Pumpkin Pattern #1: Wink Wink!Reader's Digest
Here's a design idea your neighbors will LOL over: an emoticon-friendly face. And best of all? This text-worthy pumpkin pattern is simple enough for even beginners to carve. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #2: Who, Me?

Pumpkin Pattern #2: Who, Me?Reader's Digest
Goofy, sure, but this wacky pumpkin face is simple enough for kids to help you carve it. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #3: Cat's Whiskers

Pumpkin Pattern #3: Cat's WhiskersReader's Digest
This purrfectly cute pumpkin carving stencil isn't hard to create at home. You can skip the whiskers if your knife skills aren't up to the job. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #4: Casper the Friendly Ghost

Pumpkin Pattern #4: Casper the Friendly GhostReader's Digest
Not too scary for little ones, this template is mostly curved lines, making it easier for pumpkin carving novices. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #5: Starry Night

Pumpkin Pattern #5: Starry NightReader's Digest
You and Van Gogh: This stencil offers a cool, twinkly evening scene that's different than the usual Jack. Feel free to mix up where the stars go, based on where your pumpkin's flattest (easiest to carve).  Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #6: Hissing Cat

Pumpkin Pattern #6: Hissing CatReader's Digest
More for an expert hand, this pumpkin carving template requires a steady knife to make sure that the cat's feet and tail don't separate from the base. If you slip, you can always "piece" it back together with toothpicks. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #7: Tombstones

Pumpkin Pattern #7: TombstonesReader's Digest
Spooky gravestones are not hard to cut out, but they make a creepy jack o'lantern nonetheless. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #8: Lopsided Grin

Pumpkin Pattern #8: Lopsided GrinReader's Digest
Watch for the eyes and teeth when you're carving out this pumpkin template: The squares and circles are tricky if your knife is larger. Switch to a smaller blade for the detail work if you need. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #9: Devil-May-Care

Pumpkin Pattern #9: Devil-May-CareReader's Digest
This pumpkin carving template is more for the pros: Use a sharp, thin knife blade to trim away all the curls. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #10: Scary Face

Pumpkin Pattern #10: Scary FaceReader's Digest
This jack o'lantern's template is a classic: part devilsh grin, part evil genius. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #11: Creepy Owl

Pumpkin Pattern #11: Creepy OwlReader's Digest
Whoo-whoo wants to make a different jack o'lantern this year? You do, with this easy, wide-image stencil. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #12: Death's Head

Pumpkin Pattern #12: Death's HeadReader's Digest
Start with the quirky eyebrows first, then work your way down the face for an easier pumpkin carving experience. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #13: Happy Jack

Pumpkin Pattern #13: Happy JackReader's Digest
If you're a little rusty in your pumpkin carving skills, try cutting out the entire triangle for eyes and half-circle for the mouth; you can always cut in eyeballs and teeth and spear them in with toothpicks. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #14: Flying Witch

Pumpkin Pattern #14: Flying WitchReader's Digest
Start slowly by lightly tracing the outline of the witch with your knife; then go around again and cut deeper into the pumpkin, to outline the figure in the template. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #15: Haunted House

Pumpkin Pattern #15: Haunted HouseReader's Digest
This silly, almost human house will cast creepy shadows on the wall. If you're unsure of your pumpkin carving skills, you can skip the extra cuts for the roof and simplify the entire template. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #16: Boo!

Pumpkin Pattern #16: Boo!Reader's Digest
Pumpkin carving pros: Take it to the next level by adding an open-mouth scream to this eerie ghost template. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #17: Scary Spider

Pumpkin Pattern #17: Scary SpiderReader's Digest
Black widow: Trace the outline of the spider's body with your knife, then use a thinner, sharp knife to really etch out the eight legs. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #18: Gone Batty

Pumpkin Pattern #18: Gone BattyReader's Digest
You'll be done with this pumpkin stencil in no time with its easy-to-carve pattern. Great for kids to help, and you can make more than one bat if your surface is large enough. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #19: Skull

Pumpkin Pattern #19: SkullReader's Digest
Watch for the tiny pieces between the skull top and bottom, and the bridge of the nose; you'll want to carve the pumpkin carefully in those connecting spaces. A smaller paring knife might work well there. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #20: Sweet Ice Cream

Pumpkin Pattern #20: Sweet Ice CreamReader's Digest
What a treat! A pumpkin carving template that's sure to please any kid; just watch for the spacing between scoops, which can be hard for beginners to get right. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #21: Spooky Tree

Pumpkin Pattern #21: Spooky TreeReader's Digest
Once you get the base down, you can go free-form with the branches, letting the surface of your pumpkin be your guide to carving it. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #22: Raven

Pumpkin Pattern #22: RavenReader's Digest
This creepy bird pattern can also be replicated in multiple times around the pumpkin, making for a very Hitchcock "The Birds" decoration. Amazing when lit. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #23: Candy Corn

Pumpkin Pattern #23: Candy CornReader's Digest
Trick or treat! Put this pumpkin out on the porch if yours is the house that's giving out the best candy. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #24: Ghastly Ghost

Pumpkin Pattern #24: Ghastly GhostReader's Digest
Do we have to spell it out for you? This pumpkin carving template makes for one silly jack o'lantern. Download this stencil >>

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Pumpkin Pattern #25: Joy Ride

Pumpkin Pattern #25: Joy RideReader's Digest
Got kids who love cars? This pumpkin template ought to drive them over the edge of happiness. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #26: Acorns

Pumpkin Pattern #26: AcornsReader's Digest
Fall is in the air with this festive pumpkin template, which is easy to knock out in minutes. Download this stencil >>

Pumpkin Pattern #27: My Lips Are Sealed

Pumpkin Pattern #27: My Lips Are SealedReader's Digest
We won't tell anyone that you can make this pumpkin carving template using all easy, straight lines. Download this stencil >>

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