A toothy grin is always fun, but why not mix it up this year? These creative designs will give you the best jack-o'-lantern on the block. (And before you make the first cut, catch up on these eight great tips for carving a Halloween pumpkin.)

pumpkin carving ideas

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Carve the top off a mini pumpkin, then cut the bottom off a water bottle and drop it in to act as a vase. We filled ours with ranunculuses, mums and dahlias.What you'll need: gold paint ($2, amazon.com), plastic spiders ($6, amazon.com)

Pumpkin Pots

Carve the top off a mini pumpkin, then cut the bottom off a water bottle and drop it in to act as a vase. We filled ours with ranunculuses, mums and dahlias.

What you'll need: gold paint ($2, amazon.com), plastic spiders ($6, amazon.com)

Deck out the front door with a pair of pumpkin pillars. Paint on gnarled trees, and then use a drill to create a constellation of stars. For a third tier, cut out a crescent moon on a mini pumpkin.
Get the tutorial »
What you'll need: cordless drill ($58, amazon.com), black paint ($7, amazon.com)

Starry Night

Deck out the front door with a pair of pumpkin pillars. Paint on gnarled trees, and then use a drill to create a constellation of stars. For a third tier, cut out a crescent moon on a mini pumpkin.

Get the tutorial »

What you'll needcordless drill ($58, amazon.com),black paint ($7, amazon.com)

It may look elaborate, but this polka-dot pattern is fairly easy. Sketch your pattern with a marker, leaving enough space between dots so holes won't overlap. Punch it out with a power drill and various bits. A detailed design shines brighter by placing LED string lights inside. 
What you'll need: cordless drill ($58, amazon.com), LED string lights ($7, amazon.com)

Spots and Dots

It may look elaborate, but this polka-dot pattern is fairly easy. Sketch your pattern with a marker, leaving enough space between dots so holes won't overlap. Punch it out with a power drill and various bits. A detailed design shines brighter by placing LED string lights inside.

What you'll needcordless drill ($58, amazon.com), LED string lights ($7, amazon.com)

This family of birds is a literal hoot. Carve out their cute expressions using free templates, and then attach painted nuts for tiny ears and feet. 
Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »
What you'll need: unshelled nuts ($10, nuts.com), orange paint ($4, amazon.com)

Owl City

This family of birds is a literal hoot. Carve out their cute expressions using free templates, and then attach painted nuts for tiny ears and feet. 

Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »

What you'll need: unshelled nuts ($10, nuts.com), orange paint ($4, amazon.com)

The walking dead are rising up — in your lawn. Life-sized bony limbs fit stretched across doubledecker gourds. 
Get the tutorial at Country Living »

What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com), battery-powered votives ($9 for 12, amazon.com)

Zombie Skeletons

The walking dead are rising up — in your lawn. Life-sized bony limbs fit stretched across doubledecker gourds. 

Get the tutorial at Country Living »

What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com), battery-powered votives ($9 for 12, amazon.com)

Light up the party with a spooky trail of spiders. Bent pipe cleaners bring to mind hairy tarantula legs when attached to mini pumpkins. 
What you'll need: black pipe cleaners ($5, amazon.com), tea lights ($13, amazon.com)

Creepy Crawlers

Light up the party with a spooky trail of spiders. Bent pipe cleaners bring to mind hairy tarantula legs when attached to mini pumpkins. 

What you'll need: black pipe cleaners ($5, amazon.com), tea lights ($13, amazon.com)

No bloodthirsty monsters here. Yes, he's got a set of fangs, but what's not to love about this adorable Dracula face? 
Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »
What you'll need: pumpkin carving kit ($5, amazon.com), black craft foam ($9, amazon.com)

Friendly Vampire

No bloodthirsty monsters here. Yes, he's got a set of fangs, but what's not to love about this adorable Dracula face? 

Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »

What you'll need: pumpkin carving kit ($5, amazon.com),black craft foam ($9, amazon.com)

Set the scene with a whole pumpkin tableau. Avoid any real fires by opting for flameless illumination instead. 
Get the tutorial at Country Living »
What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com), battery-powered votives ($9 for 12, amazon.com)

Roaring Hearth

Set the scene with a whole pumpkin tableau. Avoid any real fires by opting for flameless illumination instead. 

Get the tutorial at Country Living »

What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com), battery-powered votives ($9 for 12, amazon.com)

Here's the foolproof way to carve out ghoulish features: Tape transfer paper to a pumpkin and draw on your design. Then remove the paper and follow the outline.
What you'll need: transfer paper ($8, amazon.com), tape ($5, amazon.com)

Happy-Go-Quirky

Here's the foolproof way to carve out ghoulish features: Tape transfer paper to a pumpkin and draw on your design. Then remove the paper and follow the outline.

What you'll need: transfer paper ($8, amazon.com), tape ($5, amazon.com)

Go the extra mile and give your pumpkin head an accompanying torso. A second squash also provides extra decorating opportunities, such as this adorable bow tie. 
Get the tutorial »
What you'll need: top hat ($8, amazon.com), bow tie ($7, amazon.com)

Spooky Skeleton

Go the extra mile and give your pumpkin head an accompanying torso. A second squash also provides extra decorating opportunities, such as this adorable bow tie.

Get the tutorial »

What you'll need: top hat ($8, amazon.com), bow tie ($7, amazon.com)

Top your pumpkin with its very own plant toupee. Carve out the top of the gourd and tuck in a pot of grass or ivy for a truly awesome hairdo. 
Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »
What you'll need: potted plant ($8, amazon.com)

Head of Hair

Top your pumpkin with its very own plant toupee. Carve out the top of the gourd and tuck in a pot of grass or ivy for a truly awesome hairdo.

Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »

What you'll need: potted plant ($8, amazon.com)

Here's a pro trick for a glowing 3-D effect: Use a lemon zester, clay loop or linoleum cutter to carve into (but not through) the top layer of pumpkin skin.
What you'll need: lemon zester ($11, amazon.com), clay loop set ($7, amazon.com)

Twisting Vines

Here's a pro trick for a glowing 3-D effect: Use a lemon zesterclay loop or linoleum cutter to carve into (but not through) the top layer of pumpkin skin.

What you'll need: lemon zester ($11, amazon.com), clay loop set ($7, amazon.com)

Copy the fall foliage outside with our easy pumpkin carving template. Plop the glowing lanterns atop a pair of planters to welcome trick-or-treaters. 
Get the tutorial »
What you'll need: painter's tape ($6, amazon.com), faux leaves ($19, amazon.com)

Leafy Garland

Copy the fall foliage outside with our easy pumpkin carving template. Plop the glowing lanterns atop a pair of planters to welcome trick-or-treaters.

Get the tutorial »

What you'll need: painter's tape ($6, amazon.com), faux leaves ($19, amazon.com)

Bring a pumpkin back from the dead by carving a lopsided smile and adding eerie eyeballs (shaped with a melon baller). Place two mini pumpkins to look like hands clawing their way from the grave.

Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »
What you'll need: melon baller ($9, amazon.com)

Zombie Grin

Bring a pumpkin back from the dead by carving a lopsided smile and adding eerie eyeballs (shaped with a melon baller). Place two mini pumpkins to look like hands clawing their way from the grave.

Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »

What you'll need: melon baller ($9, amazon.com)

Mini pumpkins, watch out. This clever design will gobble up any gourd in its way. 
Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »
What you'll need: battery-powered votive ($9 for 12, amazon.com), melon baller ($9, amazon.com)

Carved Cannibal

Mini pumpkins, watch out. This clever design will gobble up any gourd in its way.

Get the tutorial at Woman's Day »

What you'll need: battery-powered votive ($9 for 12, amazon.com), melon baller ($9, amazon.com)

Set up a flickering town square by simply cutting away windows and doors from silhouetted buildings. 
Get the tutorial at Country Living »
What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com), battery-powered votives ($9 for 12, amazon.com)

Halloween Town

Set up a flickering town square by simply cutting away windows and doors from silhouetted buildings.

Get the tutorial at Country Living »

What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com), battery-powered votives ($9 for 12, amazon.com)

Make a wish on a Disney-inspired pumpkin. This magical carving from Neverland stars a glimmering Tink.
Get the tutorial at Instructables »
What you'll need: cordless drill ($58, amazon.com), artificial pumpkin carving saws ($7, amazon.com)

Tinkerbell

Make a wish on a Disney-inspired pumpkin. This magical carving from Neverland stars a glimmering Tink.

Get the tutorial at Instructables »

What you'll needcordless drill ($58, amazon.com),artificial pumpkin carving saws ($7, amazon.com)

Combined with a butternut squash, a swirly pumpkin shell creates a lovable version of the garden pest.

Get the tutorial at Secret Agent Josephine »

What you'll need: ping pong balls ($6, amazon.com), bamboo skewers ($5, amazon.com)

Squash Snail

Combined with a butternut squash, a swirly pumpkin shell creates a lovable version of the garden pest.

Get the tutorial at Secret Agent Josephine »

What you'll need: ping pong balls ($6, amazon.com), bamboo skewers ($5, amazon.com)

Paint jack-o'-lanterns shades of heavy metal before carving features. "Rock" them out with plastic gems, sequin strips (around the witch's eyes) and glitter glue (outlining the ghost).
What you'll need: silver paint ($8, amazon.com), glitter glue ($6, amazon.com)

Gleam Team

Paint jack-o'-lanterns shades of heavy metal before carving features. "Rock" them out with plastic gems, sequin strips (around the witch's eyes) and glitter glue(outlining the ghost).

What you'll need: silver paint ($8, amazon.com), glitter glue ($6, amazon.com)

Kim Ludwiczak and Renee Wisniewski of Livonia and Madison Heights, Michigan, added gourd-and-berry window boxes.
What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com)

A Cute Abode

Kim Ludwiczak and Renee Wisniewski of Livonia and Madison Heights, Michigan, added gourd-and-berry window boxes.

What you'll need: X-Acto knife ($4, amazon.com)

Pumpkins of a feather nest together — as seen here, on Linda Reamer-Hilbish's porch in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. (The tall, spindly legs are made of broomsticks.)
What you'll need: broom handles ($7 each, amazon.com)

Bird Brained

Pumpkins of a feather nest together — as seen here, on Linda Reamer-Hilbish's porch in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. (The tall, spindly legs are made of broomsticks.)

What you'll need: broom handles ($7 each, amazon.com)

Julie Kendziora and her class in Needville, Texas, used pipe cleaners for antennae, amplifying the "alien" effect.
What you'll need: green pipe cleaners ($4, amazon.com)

Alien Invasion

Julie Kendziora and her class in Needville, Texas, used pipe cleaners for antennae, amplifying the "alien" effect.

What you'll need: green pipe cleaners ($4, amazon.com)

When her 10-year-old son dressed up as a Halloween pirate, Christy Lauman of Irrigon, Oregon, put a matching costume on her jack-o'-lantern.
What you'll need: pirate hat ($6, amazon.com)

Pirates

When her 10-year-old son dressed up as a Halloween pirate, Christy Lauman of Irrigon, Oregon, put a matching costume on her jack-o'-lantern.

What you'll need: pirate hat ($6, amazon.com)

This boo-tiful pipe-cleaner spider and his web were done by Kimberly Werner of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
What you'll need: black pipe cleaners ($5, amazon.com)

Spider and Web Pumpkin

This boo-tiful pipe-cleaner spider and his web were done by Kimberly Werner of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.

What you'll need: black pipe cleaners ($5, amazon.com)