20 Jack-O’-Lantern Ideas That’ll Make You Wish You Had a Bigger Porch

Updated: Dec. 01, 2023

Experienced carvers, novice crafters and those in between will find tips, tricks and ideas to take their gourd game to the next level.

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hello halloween pumpkin carving

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: A Warm Welcome

Greet your fall guests with a warm welcome right on your front doorstep. To create this welcoming pumpkin for yourself, we suggest printing off a template so you don’t accidentally cut out a letter’s hollow opening. Choose a script font as shown or whatever font you like. When you are done, place a battery-operated candle inside your pumpkin to create a glowing greeting for your guests in the evening.

Learn more about how to use your power tools to carve pumpkins this halloween.

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ghosts halloween pumpkin carving ghost

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: Kindred Ghost Greeters

These ghost carvings are not of the creepy variety—these kindred spirits will warmly greet even the youngest trick-or-treaters. As shown in the image above, when carving this design, connect the ghosts’ arms and tails to the rest of the pumpkin so it will not collapse inward. See how leaves can accent a pumpkin.

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day of the dead pumpkin carving halloween

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: Day-of-the-Dead O’Lantern

Celebrate the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, which begins on Oct. 31, by creating a painted pumpkin with a traditional Day of the Dead skull face. Use a combination of paint, markers and carving tools to create this masterpiece.

With fall on the way, you’ll want to make sure your home is ready for the cooler months.

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owl halloween jack o'lantern pumpkin

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: Cockeyed Owl

This mottled-orange pumpkin glows with character. Download the template from birdsandblooms.com/owl-pumpkin and welcome your trick-or-treaters with a friendly feathered face. Before you start carving this owl-o’-lantern, make sure you cut around the stem, remove the top and scoop out all the ooey-gooey gourd flesh and seeds. Learn the best tips for how to carve your pumpkin.

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piece of pie jack o'lantern pumpkin halloween

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: A Piece O’Pie

Pay tribute to your favorite pumpkin dessert by carving it into your jack-o’-lantern. This is a very easy carve, though it does involve sculpting your pumpkin instead of carving straight through it. Pumpkin sculpting means that you will need to carve partially through the outer skin of your pumpkin, without making any holes, creating a surface that light can shine through. Use a potato peeler (or a knife, if you are careful) to sculpt your pie filling design. Use a drill to make the pie’s steam holes. Check out these 5 Ways to Use a Drill to Speed Up Food Prep.

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skeleton halloween jack o'lantern pumpkin

Easy Jack-O’-Lantern Ideas: Smiling Skeleton Skull

“X” marks the spot for this jack-o’-lantern. This simple Halloween carving is one step up from the classic pumpkin design, with its X-eyes and creepy stitched smile.

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cat in the window halloween pumpkin carving jack o'lantern

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: Someone’s Watching You

If you are a pet owner, then you know you’re pretty much never alone when you’re at home. Create this jack-o’-lantern design to place on your front doorstep and let passersby know that someone is more than likely watching them too. Check out these 10 Things You Can Do Every Day to Make Your Home Safer.

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mom's little pumpkin mr potato head jack o'lantern
Photo: Courtesy of Kaysi Ross of Calgary, Alberta

Easy Jack-O’-Lantern Ideas: Mom’s Little Pumpkin

This Halloween, dress up your little one like a plump pumpkin on trick-or-treat night. And don’t forget to decorate your other pumpkin! If you are in a time crunch, use Mr. Potato Head push-in pieces to decorate your jack-o’-lantern.

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heart leaf on pumpkin
Photo: Courtesy of Tina Martino, Hewitt, New Jersey

Simple, Natural Approach to Jack-O’-Lantern Designs

Highlight autumn’s freshest hues on bright orange pumpkins. Or go with a more unique color palette by using white or pale green pumpkins. Plus: A Few Ways Smart Homeowners Deal With Fall Leaves

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bats window pumpkin jack o'lantern

Bats, Beware!

Bats are not welcome guests in most homes, but they are the perfect creatures to carve in a Halloween pumpkin. Use the same bat template in several different locations on the pumpkin to create this design.

If you do have bats in your attic, learn How to Prevent a Bat Problem in Your Home.

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classic cat jack o'lantern pumpkin halloween

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: The Classic Cat

If you are more of a cat person rather than a dog lover, why not show off your love for felines? This is a very straightforward design that can be personalized to look more like your own cat’s characteristics. Regardless of your preference for pets, check out these 14 Cleaning Tips Every Dog or Cat Owner Should Know.

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bedazzled glitter pumpkin gourd

Puttin’ on the Glitz

Too often, the humble pumpkin gets taken for granted. We suggest giving pumpkins unexpected shine with a dusting of glue and glitter craft supplies. On a mantel or your front porch, they’ll sparkle in sunlight and glisten magically in candlelight, in any colors you choose. Keep these tips in mind to keep squirrels from messing up pumpkins on your porch.

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jack o'lantern halloween pumpkin eyebrows

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: Raised Eyebrows

This Halloween, try carving something a little different from the classic jack-o’-lantern design. We decided to etch out different eyebrow designs on our pumpkins to give them different emotions. Get another look at pumpkin designs to inspire you this Halloween.

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owl hoot halloween pumpkin carving jack o'lantern

HOOT Halloween

With big eyes and mournful cries, owls make the perfect spooky pumpkin motif. Sketch a design on paper for the owl’s face and wings and get your carving party started.

We’ve gathered 15 project ideas and tips that will make your pumpkin the best on the block!

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shrieking scream face halloween pumpkin

Jack-O’-Lantern Designs: Shrieking Scream

If you are a big fan of horror movies, re-create your favorite characters on your jack-o’-lantern. Just don’t get too creeped out when you see the pumpkin’s glowing face in the moonlight. Maybe you want to save the seeds for your garden in the spring, here’s what you need to do.

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halloween pumpkin vegetable tray boo

Easy Jack-O’-Lantern Ideas: Pumpkin Vegetable Tray

Hosting a Halloween party or fall get-together? We’ve got the perfect idea for you! Use a pumpkin as a vegetable tray to make a spectacular centerpiece. All you have to do is hollow out your pumpkin like you normally would and carve it to your liking. Be sure to first measure the base of your veggie dip bowl so it will fit perfectly into the opening of the pumpkin. Check out these 24 Ways to Decorate Your Home and Yard For Halloween.

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Zigzag Fun

Zigzag Fun

Glam up a pumpkin with some tape and a can of spray paint to make a chevron pattern on your pumpkin. Here's what you'll need:
  • Pumpkin
  • Painters tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Spray paint
  • Permanent marker
  • Old newspapers
This project originally appeared in Country Woman Magazine.   
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Creative Pumpkin Ideas: Creepy Cottage

Creative Pumpkin Ideas: Creepy Cottage

This miniature scene is big on frightful fun and it's easy to create! Make your own cottage Jack-o'-lantern this Halloween. What You’ll Need:
  • Ceramic house
  • Black matte spray paint
  • Acrylic paints
  • Hollow carvable foam pumpkin
  • Battery-operated mini LED light string
  • Fairy garden bench
  • Spice jar lids, optional
  • Moss
  • Paintbrushes
  • Drill
  • Glue gun
This project originally appeared in Country Woman Magazine
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Brighten up your pumpkin with a bouquet of colorful blooms. Make your carved pumpkin cheerier by tucking an autumn bouquet into a vase that fits snugly inside the shell. Arrange flowers to hide the rim of the vase. Late summer container plants will look sweet next to your Halloween vase.
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Easy Jack-O’-Lantern Ideas: Stripes, Checks and Dots

Contrasting designs and complementing colors can create quite the display this Halloween. For a harlequin look, try painting one pumpkin with polka dots, another with checks and stripes and the rest with one bold color. Making a Halloween creation on your own is often the fun part.