Halloween is coming soon, and no Halloween is complete without jack o’lanterns. These artfully carved pumpkins let you show off your creative side while you honor the traditions of the season.
While the traditional jack o’lantern with triangles for eyes and nose certainly has a place of honor in Halloween décor, you can also think outside the gourd and wow your friends and neighbors with creative jack o’lantern ideas.
No matter what your style is, these pumpkin carving tips will make your pumpkins stand out from the crowd, and turn your front porch into a stage for creative Halloween fun.
Choosing Your Pumpkin
The pumpkin you choose will be the canvas for your jack o’lantern, so choose well. This video from Better Homes and Gardens offers some suggestions for choosing a gourd of the right size and shape for the type of jack o’lantern you want to make.
No matter what creative inspiration you’re following, be sure to pick a pumpkin that is fresh. You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste when your pumpkin turns squishy in a week!
A fresh pumpkin will have firm sides and a stem that is well-attached and doesn’t move around when you wiggle it gently.
Tools for Pumpkin Carving
The right tools are key if you want your jack o’lantern to look its best. Depending on your pumpkin project, you might need more than just a carving knife to get the right effect.
For example, some pumpkin designs use intricate textures, rather than just basic cutouts. Martha Stewart offers this list of perfect pumpkin carving tools.
Pumpkin Carving Instructions
No matter how you carve your pumpkin, the same basic technique applies. These pumpkin carving instructions, courtesy of Martha Stewart, will get you started on the right foot.
Once you’ve carved your pumpkin, don’t let all those yummy seeds go to waste! Delicious roasted pumpkin seeds fresh from the oven are the perfect October snack.
That’s not the only way to enjoy pumpkin seeds, though: Here are 12 things to do with your pumpkin seeds, courtesy of TheKitchn.
Cool Jack O’Lantern Ideas
Now that we’ve covered pumpkin carving 101, here are some truly creative pumpkin designs, including jack o’lantern patterns to help you along the way. Let the fun begin!
- Jack O’Lantern Quiz: This 6-question quiz from Better Homes and Gardens can guide you to jack o’lantern ideas that suit your personality and artistic talents. After you take the quiz, the site supplies free pumpkin patterns for your jack o’lantern.
- Pumpkin Projects for Kids: Let the kids in on the fun! Here are some kids’ jack o’lantern projects that the whole family can enjoy.
- Pumpkins for the Pooch: These pumpkin carving stencils from Better Homes and Gardens let you put your favorite dog breed on your jack o’lantern.
- Jack O’Lantern Light Show: This unique pumpkin design features floating candles.
- Jack O’Lantern Owl: This video shows you how to make a make a gorgeous Halloween owl jack o’lantern. If you love these wise birds, here’s another owl jack o’lantern.
- Artsy Etching: This delightfully creepy jack o’lantern features a beautifully etched haunted house.
- Falling Foliage Jack O’Lantern: Celebrate nature with this beautiful falling leaf jack o’lantern.
- Gorgeous Green Gourds: Who says all jack o’lanterns have to be orange? Try this green lantern gourd design to add some color to your fall décor.
- Witch Silhouette Pumpkin: This jack o’lantern pattern uses a textured etching technique to make aspooky witch face.
- Funky Fangs : These jack o’lantern designs take a bite out of those boring pumpkins!
- Jack O’Planterns: Love gardening? These pumpkins take creativity a step further by turning your jack o’lanterns into planters.