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Jack-O-Lantern Ideas

A fun Halloween tradition in my family has always been making our jack-o-lanterns. I’m no expert, but I love choosing and carving a pumpkin each year to get in the Halloween spirit. This post has jack-o-lantern ideas and Halloween pumpkin ideas with pictures to help you choose cool pumpkin designs this year.

Four Cool Halloween Pumpkin Ideas

Pumpkin Face Ideas

Coming up with pumpkin face ideas can be hard to do so we have done the work for you. Take a look at these designs and then you just have to decide what kind of pumpkin carving designs you want this year. Do you want to go with a classic Halloween design, something scary, cute or a funny jack-o-lantern. There are many options that don’t take a lot of skill or even much creativity.

If you do find a silhouette or pumpkin face idea that’s beyond your abilities, there are tons of free printable templates online. has free pumpkin carving templates or just do a google search for your favorite characters. Carving a jack-o-lantern can be fun and make your other holiday decorations really stand out. 

Pumpkin Throwing Up

One of the deceptively simple pumpkin carving ideas is the vomiting pumpkin. This is always a hit and looks like it takes a lot of work. It’s easy to do by carving a classic Halloween face and then spreading pumpkin guts around the mouth so it looks like a pumpkin throwing up. 


pumpkin throwing up graphic

People also use a pumpkin throwing up to decorate for parties by replacing the pumpkin guts with guacamole or another dipping sauce. Having a pumpkin vomiting out the bean dip can look gross but really add to the festivities.


Baby Pumpkin Throwing Up

This baby pumpkin throwing up is an easy pumpkin face that kids can make.

Cannibal Pumpkin

The cannibal pumpkin has become one of the popular and creative pumpkin ideas going around. There is something funny and creepy about a pumpkin eating another pumpkin, which is why you can’t go wrong making your own cannibal pumpkin. 


Cannibal Pumpkin Graphic

You don’t need to be a professional pumpkin carver to impress your friends by making a cannibal pumpkin. Start by buying two pumpkins. One large and one a mini pumpkin, to go in the mouth. 


Pumpkin eating another pumpkin cannibal graphics

You can carve any pumpkin face you want on the large pumpkin, but most people like to make the pumpkin eating another pumpkin look scary. Adding teeth is also common to show off that it’s going to chew that little pumpkin up.

As you can see from the images above, you can also carve a scared or sad face into the mini pumpkin that is about to be cannibalized. 

Stem for Nose Pumpkin

Sometimes it’s hard to come up with pumpkin face ideas because you have a strange shaped or flat sided pumpkin. These pumpkins can be perfect for a stem nose pumpkin design. You can also choose a pumpkin ahead of time in order to make a stem nosed pumpkin. As you can see from the photo below, these pumpkins are great for making an angry pumpkin face.


pumpkin face ideas stem as nose

The pumpkin with a stem for a nose doesn’t have to be an angry pumpkin, but it can look vicious with minimal carving skills.


pumpkin face ideas stem noses

When carving these pumpkins you won’t open the pumpkin by cutting into the stem like normal. Instead open and remove a patch on the side of the pumpkin (which will be the bottom or top of your stem nosed jack-o-lantern.


pumpkin face ideas stem nosed pumpkin

The size, shape and angle of the stem can give your jack-o-lantern personality.

Cute Pumpkin Ideas

These cute pumpkin ideas can come to life with a little creativity and by using stencils. The rocking witch on the left is a fun design that looks great when carved into a pumpkin. The Tinkerbell design in the middle looks complicated, but can be made quickly by using a stencil and a hand drill.


cute pumpkin ideas tinker bell witch frankenweenie

The Frankenweenie jack-o-lantern on the right is a cute pumpkin idea even if you aren’t a fan of the movie. The dog looks great as a Halloween pumpkin design.

The cute pumpkin ideas below feature a uniquely shaped jack-o-lantern and Frankenstein as a pumpkin.

cute pumpkin ideas frankenstein flat top

Adding some green and black helps make the pumpkin on the right really stand out as a pumpkin version of Frankenstein.

 Jack-o-lantern Jail

Making a jack-o-lantern jail cell is one of the cute pumpkin ideas that can seem out of reach for a beginner pumpkin carver. However, carving a pumpkin into a cage shape is not out of reach. 


Pumpkin in Prison Graphic

When carving the bars of the jail cell you can add hands like in the picture above for extra perspective and detail. You can carve or just draw a face on the mini pumpkin you place inside the cage and you’ve got yourself a jail cell.

Cool Pumpkin Ideas

There are a lot of cool pumpkin ideas out there, including amazing realistic designs that take a lot of talent and skills to recreate. Most of the Halloween pumpkin ideas on this page can be created without a lot of pumpkin carving experience. (Except for the sculpted pumpkins.)

Jack Skellington Pumpkin

The Jack Skellington pumpkins are cool pumpkin ideas because of his distinct facial features and unique Nightmare Before Christmas look.


Jack Skellington Pumpkin White

You can make your Jack Skellington pumpkin with a white ghost pumpkin like the one above for a more realistic look.


Jack Skellington Pumpkin graphics

The orange Jack Skellington pumpkin also looks great with Jack’s smile. You can carve this pumpkin by hand or use a template to make it perfect.

Bat Jack-o-lantern


bat jack- o-lantern day and night

The bat is a classic Halloween symbol and it looks great on a pumpkin. Making a bat pumpkin carving can easily be done with a stencil to create the silhouette of a bat.


bat jack-o-lantern two graphic

The bat jack-o-lantern pictured on the left above is a classic pumpkin face with bat wings attached. Scraping the top layer of the pumpkin skin off also adds a unique effect to the bat pumpkin carving above.


cool pumpkin ideas bat mouth pumpkin

This bat jack-o-lantern has pieces of pumpkin added for bat ears and a cool bat shaped mouth.

Pumpkin with Teeth

A great way to make cool pumpkin carvings is by creating jack-o-lantern teeth. 


Pumpkin with teeth graphic

Pumpkin with teeth that are made by scraping away the top layers of pumpkin skin look great. You can also place fake vampire teeth in a mini pumpkin, center image in above photo, for a fun effect.


scary pumpkin carving ideas teeth

The sharp jack-o-lantern teeth pictured above add a spooky effect to any pumpkin. If carving a pumpkin with teeth is too much of a hassle, you can always use toothpicks for teeth like in the image on the right side above.  

No Carve Pumpkin Ideas

What should you do when you don’t want to carve and gut a pumpkin, but still want to celebrate Halloween? I’ve had this problem on and off the last few years because the heat and humidity in October has caused jack-o-lantern’s to mold and rot within a week or two. Coming up with no carve pumpkin ideas can also provide a fun way for kids to be in charge of their own pumpkins.


no carve pumpkin ideas ghostbuster vampire

The most popular no carve pumpkin ideas involve painting pumpkins for fun. Painting a facial expression is common and it can often look real during the day. Another option is to paint the entire pumpkin one color and then decorate it with your favorite designs.  


no carve pumpkin ideas paint and christian halloween

Painting is not the only option for expressing pumpkin face ideas. Stickers, felt or other craft materials can be used to decorate pumpkins too. The pumpkin pictured above on the right uses items other than paint to celebrate religion and Halloween.


no carve pumpkin ideas face painting

Painting a pumpkin face can be a fun and creative way to decorate for Halloween. 

Creative Pumpkin Ideas

Take this Halloween to the next level by using these creative pumpkin ideas to make a cool display. 


Creative Pumpkin Ideas Smashed

The creative pumpkin idea above is a fun and easy way turn your jack-o-lantern into a Halloween scene. Smash a pumpkin and then set up a grieving or terrified jack-o-lantern bystander.

Stacked Pumpkins


Stacked Pumpkins Graphic

Stacked pumpkins are the snowmen of Halloween, except spookier. 


Two Stacked Pumpkins Images

A fun way to add spookiness this Halloween is with stacked pumpkins decorating your yard or home. Often this can be achieved using a sharpened dowel and classic jack-o-lanterns. Using scary faces with creepy lighting can really add a spooky effect to any home. 

Creative Pumpkin Ideas

Many creative pumpkin ideas result in using hats, headwear and clothing to dress up jack-o-lanterns. 


creative pumpkin ideas with props and hats

These creative pumpkin ideas really show off the use of headwear for decorating jack-o-lanterns. 


creative pumpkin ideas Hat and Cigar

Hats and grassy headwear can make a normal jack-o-lantern really stand out. Just use flameless candles if your putting flammable headwear on your pumpkin. 


pumpkin face ideas scarecrow

This scarecrow jack-o-lantern has a stem nose, clothing and toothpick teeth to really set it apart from other decorations in the neighborhood.

Simple Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Halloween pumpkin ideas don’t have to be elaborate to look great for celebrating the holiday. Below are some classic and simple pumpkin carving ideas that can be done without the use of stencils.


Simple pumpkin carving ideas two classic images

These classic Halloween pumpkins are easy to carve yourself and look great.


simple pumpkin carving ideas three classic

Use these jack-o-lanterns to come up with your own simple pumpkin carving ideas. The left and middle pictures use classic triangle shaped eyes and noses to carve a festive Halloween pumpkin.


simple pumpkin carving ideas classic

Ghost Pumpkin

Use a silhouette technique for a fun alternative to a jack-o-lantern face. They are great for any classic Halloween symbol. These ghost pumpkin silhouettes look impressive and can be made with free online templates.


Ghost Pumpkin Two Graphic-2

Print out a template, stick it to your pumpkin and then use a sharp object to poke holes outlining the ghost. Next, remove the paper and you can cut from hole to hole until your ghost pumpkin is complete.

A simple way to make a ghost pumpkin is by carving a ghost face. Rounded eyes and mouth are used for classic ghosts, while oval shapes are used for a spookier ghost pumpkin. 


Ghost Pumpkin-2 white and outline carving

For ideas about what a scary ghost looks like, check out the villain in Scream named Ghostface. 

Cat Pumpkin Carving & Cat Face Pumpkin

The cat is a classic symbol of Halloween that can easily be carved into a jack-o-lantern.


cat pumpkin carving illustration

Here are a few different options when making a cat pumpkin carving. This is a fun project for kids because the cat shapes have a lot of room for creativity.


Cat pumpkin carving images x three

The images on the left show how to create a cat face pumpkin. Attaching chunks of pumpkin on top as the cat ears really makes this stand out as a cat face.

The images on the right side show the different options when making a silhouette style cat pumpkin carving. The classic style of silhouetting the cat in shadow like in the top photo looks great, but another option is to carve away the shape of the cat like in the bottom photo.

Scary Pumpkin Carving Ideas

My challenge every year is coming up with new scary pumpkin carving ideas. I love everything about Halloween, but the scary stuff is definitely my favorite. 

The Angry Pumpkin

jack o lantern faces ideas scary

The images above are examples of an angry pumpkin design that most people can carve on their own.

Use these to come up with your own scary pumpkin carving ideas. Notice how the exaggerated jagged edges of the mouth really bring out the spookiness.


jack o lantern faces ideas three scary pumpkins

More angry pumpkin faces that can be carved by amateur carvers at home. 

Unique Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Once in awhile you may want to make your jack-o-lantern different than all the others, but coming up with unique pumpkin carving ideas can be difficult. It seems like everything has been done, or you need to be a professional artist to compete. Below are some simple Halloween pumpkin ideas that can give your jack-o-lantern a little extra personality this year.

Colored Pumpkins


unique pumpkin carving ideas

Not all pumpkins are orange and people are finally ready to celebrate multicolor pumpkins at Halloween. Painting entire pumpkins a different color has become very popular, but why not just buy yourself a pumpkin that isn’t solid orange.

Yellow pumpkins look amazing and can be more cheery or spooky based on your design. Pumpkins don’t have to be a solid color all the way through.

The picture on the right shows a great looking multi-colored jack-o-lantern.

The white pumpkin is also called a ghost pumpkin and they offer the opportunity for skull designs, Jack Skellington or even just a class jack-o-lantern. The middle photo above shows that a ghost pumpkin looks great next to a classic orange pumpkin. 


unique pumpkin carving ide

The white “ghost pumpkin” is great for carving or drawing on with a sharpie. The green skinned pumpkin is very unique and makes for great zombie pumpkin carvings. They also tend to look darker at night which really makes the jack-o-lantern face stand out when lit.

Pumpkin Sculptures

Making pumpkin sculptures is one of the more popular Halloween pumpkin ideas, but it requires a lot more skill than the other designs on this page. 


Two skinned pumpkins faces

These sculptures are cool pumpkin carvings that would look great at any Halloween celebration. They are way beyond my skill level though.


sculpted Unique Pumpkin Carving Ideas

These are two more cool creations using sculpting techniques.

Jack-o-lantern Message

A cool pumpkin idea is to use jack-o-lanterns to send a message this Halloween. It can be spooky, scary or fun. 


Words with pumpkins spelli

Create a message by carving one letter into each pumpkin like in the Halloween image above. 


Words with pumpkins graphic

Using words instead of jack-o-lantern faces means you can easily spread a message while celebrating Halloween. It can be a spooky message or even a message of love like in the pumpkins pictured above. 

Smoking Pumpkin

One of the coolest pumpkin ideas for showing off your creation is by using dry ice and smoke effects.  


cool pumpkin ideas dry ice

A dry ice pumpkin is easy to make and looks impressive, especially as a Halloween party decoration.


cool pumpkin ideas dry ice pumpkin three

When creating a dry ice pumpkin you can pour water directly into the bottom of the pumpkin and then add the dry ice. Dry ice with cool lighting can make a great looking smoking pumpkin. 

Once you have created you’re unique Halloween pumpkins, put them on display for friends and neighbors!


cool pumpkin ideas at night