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31 Free Pumpkin Carving Stencils to Take Your Jack-o’-Lantern to the Next Level

There's nothing like a light-filled jack-o'-lantern to put that finishing touch on your homemade Halloween decorations, and it’s much easier to create memorable designs when you start with a template. 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.

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Feathery fun

For the artsiest pumpkin on the block, you need to choose from the coolest pumpkin carving stencils. Try this pattern from Remodelando la Casa.

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Boo!

Ghosts may be scary, but pumpkin carving stencils don’t have to be! This calligraphy stencil from Style Me Pretty Living gives your pumpkin some flair. Make sure you find your pumpkin at the best pumpkin patch in your state.

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Eek!

When ghosts and ghouls cross your path, there’s only one thing you can say: Eeek! Style Me Pretty Living‘s typographic template gives a cool touch to a chilling night.

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Sweet stuff


Halloween is all about tricks and treats—emphasis on treats. This adorable pumpkin carving pattern (plus a full instructional video) from Lindsay Ann Bakes will add a sweet touch to any porch. Find out why we even carve pumpkins in the first place.

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Wink, wink!

Here’s a pumpkin carving pattern 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.

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Who, me?

Goofy, sure, but this wacky pumpkin face is simple enough for kids to help you carve it.

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Cat’s whiskers

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. You’ll also love these 51 no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas.

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Pumpkin

Casper the Friendly Ghost

Not too scary for little ones, this template is mostly curved lines, making it easier for pumpkin carving novices.

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Starry night

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).

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Pumpkin

Hiss!

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. Check out these helpful tips for picking the perfect pumpkin to carve.

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R.I.P.

Spooky gravestones are not hard to cut out, but they make a creepy jack-o’-lantern nonetheless.

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Goofy grin

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.

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Devilish fun

This pumpkin carving template is more for the pros: Use a sharp, thin knife blade to trim away all the curls. Try one of these 15 easy Halloween crafts for kids.

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So scary!

This jack o’lantern’s template is a classic: part devilish grin, part evil genius.

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WHO stole the candy?

Whoo-whoo wants to make a different jack o’lantern this year? You do, with this easy, wide-image stencil.

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Death’s head

Start with the quirky eyebrows first, then work your way down the face for an easier pumpkin carving experience. Want some history of Halloween? Learn why we celebrate the spooky holiday in the first place.

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Pumpkin

Happy Jack

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. Put one of these 25 fun Halloween movies for kids on in the background while you carve your pumpkin masterpiece.

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Calling all witches

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.

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Haunted house

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. Read up on the 12 things you never knew about Halloween.

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Ghastly ghost

Pumpkin carving pros: Take it to the next level by adding an open-mouth scream to this eerie ghost template.

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Creepy crawly

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. Here are some fun family Halloween costume ideas.

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Gone batty

You’ll be done with these pumpkin stencils in no time. Great for kids to help, and you can make more than one bat if your surface is large enough.

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Death wish

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. Find out the stories behind 14 spooky Halloween symbols and traditions.

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Sweet treat

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.

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Eerie tree

Not all pumpkin carving stencils are set in stone. 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. Here are 22 cheap DIY Halloween costumes for kids.

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Ominous raven

This creepy bird pattern can also be replicated in multiple times around the pumpkin, making for a very spooky decoration à la Hitchcock’s The Birds. Amazing when lit.

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All the candy

Trick or treat! Put this pumpkin out on the porch if yours is the house that’s giving out the best candy. Learn the reason we pass out candy on Halloween in the first place!

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Boo moons

Do we have to spell it out for you? This pumpkin carving template makes for one silly jack o’lantern. Read about the 17 creepy events that happened on Halloween.

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Joy ride

Got kids who love cars? This pumpkin template ought to drive them over the edge of happiness.

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A little nutty

Fall is in the air with this festive pumpkin template, which is easy to knock out in minutes. Find out some things you can make with all of the acorns falling at this time of year.

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My lips are sealed

As far as pumpkin carving stencils go, this one’s the simplest of the simple. We won’t tell anyone that you can make using all easy, straight lines. For some more inexpensive decorating ideas, check out our favorite DIY Halloween decorations.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest