We all grew up doing it:  drawing a design on a pumpkin, cutting it open and scooping out the guts and seeds, often up to our elbows in the stringy mess, then cutting out the shapes to make a smiley, spooky or weird face.

Today there are dozens of different and unique ways to create a jack-o-lantern for the ghoulish season.  Here are just 10 unique ways to “carve” your next pumpkin!


The best way to create intricate designs is to use a template.  There are hundreds of patterns available online, just print and pin or tape onto your pumpkin-canvas.  These beauties used paper doilies as stencils.  Love the lacey designs.  

don't use doilies

“Tack-o-lanterns” like these from Country Living might just be the easiest pumpkin method yet!  Simply paint your pumpkin and insert thumbtacks or push-pins to create your design.  

don't use thumbtack


Move over Jack.  This “owl”oween there are new kids in town and on front porches everywhere.  Use  pumpkins, squash, acorns, leaves, bark, twigs and other natural things, combined with a few items from your craft room to create unique characters.  

If you don’t want the mess of carving, and a unique look that will add color to your holiday decor, Susan from Between Naps on the Porch suggests using Mod Podge to apply strips of paper, tissue or fabric to your pumpkin. She created gorgeous pumpkins that matched her room perfectly.  (And she used fake pumpkins so they last forever — love that)

don't use Decoupage-a-Pumpkin1
I love these cute porcupine pumpkins.  With your pumpkin on its side, cut a hole in the bottom.  Drill or punch small holes around the pumpkin and insert tiny twinkle lights through the holes from the inside.  Attach a smaller pumpkin or gourd for the head and set them out for everyone to enjoy.

Forget faces and go for designs.  The popular Chevron design looks great on this pumpkin. Checks, dots, herringbone, stripes, the possibilities are endless.

Better Homes and Gardens suggest a fast and safe way to carve your pumpkin is with a simple apple corer.  You can create simple words or creative faces with this simple punching tool.  Use a rubber mallet if your pumpkin is too thick.  
dont use apple corer

Michelle at soheresmylife.com recommends using a metal cookie cutter and pounding it into the pumpkin with the support of a wood block and hammer.  Metal cookie cutters are available in thousands of designs and easy to find.  Mix them up to create a fun scene or use one cutter for a bold statement piece.

cookie cutter

Create colorful “Paint-o-lanterns” with your favorite design using paint, ribbon, buttons, vinyl and other embellishments.  These cute witch legs combine paint and ribbon with a technique of carving the pumpkin just though the outer rind but not all the way through the flesh.  This allows lighting to still show through.

witch legs

don't use pumpkin-carve-24

Would you like some tips on how to carve the perfect pumpkin? Click to read 6 Pumpkin Carving Tips Everyone NEEDS to Know.  If carving isn’t your thing, check out this article: 8 Creative No Carve Pumpkin Recommendations

pumpkin decor

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