Several jack-o-lanterns stacked together, displayed on a table
Martin Deja, Getty Images

15 Creative Jack-O’-Lantern Ideas

From quick and simple designs to super detailed carvings.

Let’s start with the most classic design there is, the basic jack-o’-lantern. It’s a great choice for a pumpkin carving beginner since it’s just a few big pieces. Simply draw the design onto the pumpkin and carve at the lines to create the face. Jesús M. García, Getty Images
For something a little scarier, turn your jack-o’-lantern’s face into something a little more sinister. The key here is to get the shape of the eyes just right. Here’s a pattern to help you carve out a scary face. Alexandre Tremblot de La Croix, Getty Images
Who doesn’t love pumpkins that will make you laugh? To recreate these silly faces, you’ll need some intermediate carving skills and small tools, but if you need something a little easier, here’s a silly face stencil to help you out. Photography by paulgmccabe, Getty Images
Skip the sharp tools entirely and opt to paint your pumpkins instead. It allows for a lot more creativity, and color. Just be sure to use acrylic paint if you’re putting them outside, otherwise, rain could wash your art away. Sabrina Bekeschus / EyeEm, Getty Images
Grab a big pumpkin for carving and a smaller one to serve as your jack-o’-lantern’s food. DIY Network has a guide to help you recreate this amazing design, but to add some spook, draw a scared face on the smaller pumpkin, too. Jean-François Monnot / EyeEm, Getty Images
This Jack Skellington jack-o’-lantern is pretty easy to re-create since the pieces are all pretty big (here’s a free stencil to help). If you’re not a fan of Jack’s, consider an Oogie Boogie or a Sally pumpkin instead. Arina Komarova, Getty Images
This owl would be really easy to recreate since it’s mostly made up of triangles. For something a little more complicated, though, try this stencil for a hipster owl because cutting around those glasses and the beak will take a bit of careful work. Csaba Tökölyi, Getty Images
This cat face is another great design for someone looking for a simple, easy pattern for their pumpkin. Just grab a sharpie and copy the design onto your pumpkin and carve around the lines to recreate this cute Halloween kitty face. Peter Dazeley, Getty Images
An easy way to make a basic jack-o’-lantern scary is to stick some toothpicks in its smile. When you get enough in there, they look like sharp, pointy teeth (like that pumpkin is out for blood), and no detailed carving is necessary. Halilcan Atik / EyeEm, Getty Images
Be sure to keep all of your pumpkin’s innards, because you’ll need them to recreate this hilarious (and kind of gross) jack-o’-lantern. The keys here are to create a wide mouth hole and to cut the eyes so they look like they’re in pain. Keith Getter, Getty Images
Another way to use two pumpkins for one design is by putting a smaller jack-o’-lantern into the mouth of a larger one. In this picture, the little pumpkin is looking pretty scared, but yours can have whatever expression you want. Itziar Aio, Getty Images
Spooky skeletons are always a good idea for Halloween, especially when they’re carved into pumpkins. For something scary, try this scowling skull. Or, keep it silly with this funny skeleton face or kid-friendly with this whole-skeleton template. Lisa Werner, Getty Images
Mummys are classic Halloween monsters, but carving them into a pumpkin requires patience and skill. If you’re up for the challenge, you can make something similar using this template or carve a whole mummy into your pumpkin using this one. Elizabeth W. Kearley, Getty Images
Okay, so a bat carved into a pumpkin isn’t technically a jack-o’-lantern, but who doesn’t love a Halloween bat? Use your art skills to recreate this design, or try something more detailed like multiple bats, a vampire with a bat, or a bat and the devil. Csaba Tökölyi, Getty Images
Jack-o’-lanterns don’t have to be spooky or scary, they can be laughing and having a good time. This is a pretty easy design to recreate free-hand, but here are templates for another happy Jack, a goofy face, and a sweet smiling Jack. Ol'ga Efimova / EyeEm, Getty Images

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