A Guide to Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Jack-o-lanterns carved from hard-shell gourds are long-lasting.

Gourds, too can be carved into jack-o-lanterns.  David Beaulieu

Pumpkin Carving Ideas: Halloween Icons

This jack o lantern has a ghost face.

Ghost Pumpkin This pumpkin has a ghost face carved upon it.  David Beaulieu

Use These Pictures for Pumpkin Carving Tips

Pumpkin festivals are a terrific source for pumpkin carving ideas. These pictures were taken at the old Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire (U.S.). Each year, the city of Keene tried to break the world record for most carved pumpkins assembled in one spot (it held the record several times, most recently in 2013). Creative people from miles around brought their carved pumpkins to the festival, hoping to be a part of history. If you attend such festivals, all you have to do is keep your eyes open to acquire a multitude of creative ideas.

The pictures below represent just a small sampling — some of jack-o’-lanterns viewers most enjoyed at this particular festival. This is just one part of a series on pumpkin carving ideas that you can consult.

Do you feel the need to go beyond carving the traditional jack-o’-lantern face on your Halloween pumpkin? Here’s a pumpkin carving idea: Carve one of the iconic Halloween figures on your pumpkin, instead. The carved pumpkin picture above shows an example; what bigger Halloween icon is there than the ghost? In the next three pictures, we will see pumpkins on which other famous Halloween symbols are used.

Halloween Cat Jack-o’-Lantern

A Halloween cat jack-o-lantern.

Cats and Pumpkins a Natural Halloween Combination A Halloween cat jack o lantern.  David Beaulieu

In the prior picture, the Halloween icon used in the pumpkin carving was a ghost. But the Halloween cat is right up there with the ghost as an elite symbol of Halloween. In the next picture, we’ll look at another example of a Halloween icon carved on a pumpkin, in lieu of the standard jack-o’-lantern face.

Frankenstein Pumpkin

Frankenstein face on carved on pumpkin.

Frankenstein Face in Lieu of Traditional Jack-o-Lantern Frankenstein face on a carved pumpkin.  David Beaulieu

From a ghost to a black cat to another Halloween icon. Frankenstein is a natural to replace ol’ Jack on a Halloween pumpkin.

Phantom of the Opera Pumpkin

This Phantom of the Opera jack-o-lantern face could double for a Western theme, with its cowboy hat.

Or the Lon Chaney Jack O Lantern This Phantom of the Opera jack-o-lantern face could double for a Western theme, with its cowboy hat.  David Beaulieu

The Phantom of the Opera could be considered a “second-tier” Halloween icon. Not as popular as ghosts, black cats or Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera is still plenty appropriate for Halloween.

Jack-o’-Lanterns With Big Mouths

This awesome pumpkin carving features a pumpkin who's

A Toothy Jack O Lantern This awesome pumpkin carving features a pumpkin who’s “all teeth.”.  David Beaulieu

In the next few pictures we’ll be looking at jack-o’-lanterns whose mouths are their prominent feature. The handsome fellow in the photo above has quite the set of teeth.

Laughing Pumpkin

This jackolantern has been carved so as to make his teeth most prominent.

Mr. Big Mouth Pumpkin This jack-o-lantern has been carved so as to make his teeth most prominent.  David Beaulieu

Another jack-o’-lantern with a big mouth. But this pumpkin face seems to be laughing more so than smiling.

Smiley Face Pumpkin

This Halloween jack-o-lantern has put on a happy face.

Crooked Smile for Halloween This Halloween jack-o-lantern has put on a happy face.  David Beaulieu

This pumpkin has “smiley face” written all over it. Except that the smile is crooked — as you would expect for Halloween.

Pumpkins With Big Tongues

Pumpkin carving idea: carved eye becomes tongue.

Sticking Out His Tongue at Halloween Here’s a pumpkin carving idea: carve out an eye or nose, then use that triangular piece as a tongue.  David Beaulieu

The next three pictures provide pumpkin carving ideas that focus on prominent tongues. In the picture above, the tongue comes from the flesh cut out for an eye or nose hole. The rest of the face is carved to be white (using a Dremel tool, probably), making the orange tongue stand out all the more.

Pumpkins That Are “All Tongue”

Looking at this big-tongued jackolantern, it's hard not to think it's a Mick Jagger pumpkin.

Mick Jagger Pumpkin? Looking at this big-tongued jack o’ lantern, it’s hard not to think it’s a Mick Jagger pumpkin.  David Beaulieu

Looking at this big-tongued jack-o’-lantern, it is hard not to think that it is supposed to be a Mick Jagger pumpkin. Here, the method for forming the tongue is the reverse from that in the prior picture. In this photo, it is the tongue that is carved white, using a Dremel or similar carving tool.

Funny Pumpkin Design

Tongue carved out in funny pumpkin design.

A More Traditional Pumpkin Carving Flesh was carved out of the mouth area in this funny pumpkin design to create a tongue.  David Beaulieu

The tongue on this funny pumpkin face is created via a more typical approach. The flesh around it is merely carved out, leaving a tongue.

Non-Traditional Jack-o’-Lantern

Picture of pumpkin face carved in profile.

Pumpkin Carving in Profile Picture of pumpkin face carved in profile.  David Beaulieu

The face in a pumpkin carving need not be head-on. This picture shows a nicely carved profile of a woman.

Pumpkin Carved “Inside-Out”

Ol' Pumpkin Head looks quite contented in this photo.

Contented Pumpkin Ol’ Pumpkin Head looks quite contented in this photo.  David Beaulieu

This pumpkin could be said to have been carved “inside-out.” That is, the flesh in the eye, nose and mouth areas is left untouched. It is the flesh across the rest of the face that is carved away (with a Dremel or similar tool).

Thinking Pumpkin Head

This Halloween pumpkin looks to be concentrating really hard.

A Pumpkin With a Problem? This Halloween pumpkin looks to be concentrating really hard.  David Beaulieu

In earlier photos, we saw examples of pumpkin heads carved in such a way as to accentuate the mouth. Here, however, the carving accentuates the eye area. This pumpkin head seems to have “thinking” wrinkles around his eyes, as if thinking really hard on some matter.

Pumpkin Head With Moustache

Photo of jackolantern with moustache.

The Moustachioed Jack O Lantern Photo of jack o’ lantern with moustache.  David Beaulieu

The classic jack-o’-lantern is clean-shaven. But this pumpkin head decided to be different and sport facial hair.

Pipe-Smoking Carved Pumpkin

This Halloween jack-o-lantern smokes a pipe -- his own stem!

Jack-O-Lantern Face With Pipe This Halloween jack-o-lantern smokes a pipe — his own stem!  David Beaulieu

Snowmen  are often designed as pipe smokers. So why not pumpkin heads? A “pipe” is readily available: the pumpkin’s stem, after it has been cut off from the top of the pumpkin.

By David Beaulieu