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46 Free Pumpkin-Carving Templates to Take Your Jack-o’-Lantern to the Next Level

From classic to cute to downright creepy, these pumpkin-carving templates will make you the envy of the neighborhood

group of Halloween Jack O Lanterns Carved From Printable Templates; orange backgroundTMB Studio

Pumpkin-carving templates for a creative Halloween

This Halloween, get creative with your jack-o’-lantern and get inspired by these pumpkin-carving templates. Once you’ve chosen a scary stencil and cast your eye over these pumpkin carving ideas, you’ll be ready to create a spooky work of art of your very own.

Start by scooping out the pumpkin’s flesh. Next, print the stencil you like, tape it to your hollowed-out pumpkin and “trace” the pattern by poking pinholes over the lines. Pull the paper off and carve over the pinhole lines, then clear any pumpkin scraps from inside the jack-o’-lantern to reveal a show-stopping porch or window decoration.

If your knife isn’t the sharpest, follow this insider tip: Instead of struggling through the tough exterior in areas that require intricate cuts, etch or peel the skin away, exposing soft, easier-to-cut flesh. Or if you would rather not carve your pumpkin at all, try one of these cute no-carve pumpkin ideas instead. So what are you waiting for? Go grab your gourd!

Pumpkin Carving Template 1RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Witch hat pumpkin stencil

Whether it’s sorting trick-or-treaters into the right magical house or simply letting everyone know who lives inside, a witch hat pumpkin shining out from your doorstep makes a perfectly spooky addition to your outdoor Halloween decorations.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 2RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Carnivorous plant pumpkin stencil

Put a spin on the traditional jack-o’-lantern by carving a different sort of toothy grin. With a couple of pumpkins, you can make Audrey I and Audrey II (the carnivorous plants from the funny Halloween movie Little Shop of Horrors). Or keep the scares coming by lining your walkway with the threatening carvings.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 3RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Toad pumpkin stencil

If your taste leans more critter than creepy, get this tidy toady pumpkin template on your carving table for a hopping-great Halloween look. It’s an unexpected backdrop for any number of Halloween party games.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 4RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Vulture pumpkin stencil

There’ll be no naps in the garden with this pumpkin haunting your porch! There’s nothing scarier than a bird of prey pecking at carrion. Thankfully, this is one of the easier pumpkin-carving templates to bring to life. In no time at all, your house will feel just as creepy as the most haunted places in the world.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 5RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Bubbling cauldron pumpkin stencil

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble! Here’s how to brew the perfect jack-o’-lanterns: Shop the best pumpkin patch in your state for the perfect gourds, pick out your favorite pumpkin templates and carve ’em up. We’re partial to this witch’s cauldron, which is all about eye of newt and other unspeakable things.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 6RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Spooky candles pumpkin stencil

Pumpkin-carving patterns don’t have to feature ghosts or ghouls to scare trick-or-treaters. Simply putting a red light inside your pumpkin will turn these candles into something creepy.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 7RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Tombstone pumpkin stencil

Turn your porch into a haunted resting place with tombstone pumpkin-carving templates. You can complete the spooky atmosphere with some great Halloween songs.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 8RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Moth pumpkin stencil

At once beautiful and creepy, this moth might pay homage to the insects that flock to your porch light in the summer—or it may symbolize something scarier: the spooky urban legend of the Mothman.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 9RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Bigfoot pumpkin stencil

You don’t have to spend any more time googling “pumpkin carving templates free.” (You’re welcome.) Just carve this cryptid into your pumpkin and tell the neighborhood the truth is out there. And if you’re a fan of the maybe-true supernatural, check out these stories about real-life exorcisms.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 10RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Scarecrow pumpkin stencil

Keep the birds and the ghouls out of your yard this Halloween with a scary scarecrow jack-o’-lantern. Before you finish decorating for the holiday, learn the history behind the classic Halloween colors.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 11RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Dinosaur footprint pumpkin stencil

Channel a prehistoric Halloween with one of the simplest pumpkin carving templates to use. Just make sure you keep an eye out for ripples in the apple bobbing bucket—they could mean something big is coming!

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Pumpkin Carving Template 12RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Magic wand pumpkin stencil

Use pumpkin-carving stencils to cast a spell this October. Carve this wand into your pumpkin and—abracadabra!—it’ll turn into a jack-o’-lantern.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 13RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Spooky tree pumpkin stencil

There’s a reason howling wind and spindly trees tapping on the window are such tropes of horror movies: They’re terrifying! Get the look without the scare for a delightfully eerie addition to your Halloween decor.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 14RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Train pumpkin stencil

There’s no rule that pumpkin-carving templates have to be spooky. If you have little ones, choo-choo-choose this adorable stencil. Carving it makes for a great Halloween craft for kids—just be sure to supervise!

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Pumpkin Carving Template 15RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Robot pumpkin stencil

Reboot your Halloween decor with this cute little robot. You can stay on theme by crafting a DIY Halloween costume that’s perfectly robotic.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 16RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Lightning bolt pumpkin stencil

If you’re looking for simple pumpkin-carving templates, look no further than this classic lightning bolt. It’s striking! (Halloween pun intended.)

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Pumpkin Carving Template 17RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Shark pumpkin stencil

Sharks are undoubtedly terrifying (and why so many of us are afraid to go in the water), but they can’t get you on land. At least they couldn’t before this pumpkin-carving stencil came along.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 18RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Bat pumpkin stencil

A colony of vampire bats on a jack-o’-lantern is scary but not as terrifying as the origins of these Halloween monsters.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 19RD.com, Getty Images

Candy corn pumpkin stencil

Everyone loves trick-or-treating for goodies, including candy corn. Shop these Halloween candy deals to stock up, then use one of the easiest pumpkin-carving templates to show your appreciation for the confection.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 20RD.com, Getty Images

Cat pumpkin stencil

A purr-fect way for cat lovers to celebrate the season: Stencil this adorable cat face onto a pumpkin.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 21RD.com, Getty Images

Clown pumpkin stencil

If you suffer from coulrophobia, this clown pumpkin-carving stencil is not for you. If you’re looking for some decor that will come straight to your door, check out these Amazon Halloween decorations that are worth buying early.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 22RD.com, Getty Images

Cyclops pumpkin stencil

The mythical cyclops makes for a spooky good time, and it’s sure to give trick-or-treaters a fright (or a laugh).

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Pumpkin Carving Template 23RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Dog pumpkin stencil

This adorable dog template is more cuddly than nightmarish, but who says pumpkin-carving stencils need to give a scare? Another way to get your four-legged friend in the Halloween game: Dress your pup in one of these Halloween costumes for dogs.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 24RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Dracula pumpkin stencil

Pointed collar? Check. Widow’s peak? You bet. Fangs? It must be the infamous Dracula! If you love this pumpkin-carving template, take a bite out of one of these vampire books.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 25RD.com, Getty Images

Dragon pumpkin stencil

The glow from the jack-o’-lantern will make this fabled fire-breathing creature even more realistic.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 26RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Eyes pumpkin stencil

Spooky eyes that follow your every move? We see your nightmare and raise it five sets of creeptastic eyes.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 27RD.com, Getty Images

Frankenstein’s monster pumpkin stencil

Take a page from one of the all-time best horror books with Frankenstein’s monster. Complete with bolts in his neck and an angry frown, he makes for one of the best pumpkin-carving stencils around.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 28RD.com, Getty Images

Ghost pumpkin stencil

Don’t let this pumpkin-carving template fool you into thinking all ghosts are friendly. These spooky stories suggest some things that go bump in the night are a bit more sinister.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 29RD.com, Getty Images

Haunted house pumpkin stencil

Haunted houses are meant to be a little off-kilter, making this one of the best pumpkin-carving stencils for anyone who finds straight lines tough to manage when carving.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 30RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Medusa pumpkin stencil

With snakes for hair and a drop-dead glare, this stencil captures Medusa’s hair-raising portrait in jack-o’-lantern form.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 31RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Mermaid pumpkin stencil

Skip the spooky and go for whimsical with this under-the-sea fantasy figure. Instead of pretty creepy, this mermaid jack-o’-lantern is just pretty. Mermaids are also one of the best Halloween costumes, so go ahead and match your outfit to your decor.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 32RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Moon pumpkin stencil

One of the easiest pumpkin-carving templates to follow, this is a perfect choice for beginner carvers. Use this stencil to capture a crescent moon on a shadowy night.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 33RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Mummy pumpkin stencil

A corpse coming to life is what nightmares are made of. Use this pumpkin-carving template to transform plain pumpkins into frightful jack-o’-lanterns like this one.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 34RD.com, Getty Images

Ogre pumpkin stencil

He’s no Shrek, but this frowning ogre is still a fun (and surprising!) choice for your jack-o’-lantern.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 35RD.com, Getty Images

Owl pumpkin stencil

For cute birds, look no further than this adorable owl pumpkin-carving stencil. For scary birds, turn to the master of horror films and rewatch Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 36RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Pirate pumpkin stencil

Let this pirate keep watch over the Halloween booty—aka candy. And speaking of sweet treats: Find out the best Halloween candy for you, based on your zodiac sign.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 37RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Raven pumpkin stencil

Often thought of as the bearers of ominous news, ravens, with their pointed beaks and razor-sharp talons, are not birds you want to meet on a dark night. They are, however, perfectly appropriate for the season. Get in the mood by reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” which you can find in one of these Halloween books.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 38RD.com, Getty Images

Scarecrow pumpkin stencil

With its grizzly grimace and eerie eyes, this is not the likable scarecrow from children’s movies. It’s enough to frighten not only the crows but your neighbors as well.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 39RD.com, Getty Images

Skull pumpkin stencil

Score your ghoulish gourd into a skull, complete with a jagged mouth and hollow eyes. Memorize a few skeleton puns to entertain your visitors.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 40RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Snakes pumpkin stencil

Slithering snakes are sure to give you the chills. Use this pumpkin-carving template to whittle scaly reptiles into a jack-o’-lantern.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 41RD.com, Getty Images

Spider pumpkin stencil

Etch an eight-legged arachnid onto your pumpkin for a decoration that’ll make your skin crawl. But why do we carve pumpkins if not to scare a few trick-or-treaters?

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Pumpkin Carving Template 42RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Squirrel pumpkin stencil

Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween—they’re appropriate throughout the fall. So play up the season with an adorable squirrel getting ready to scamper through the foliage and collect some nuts. It’s a sweet scene during the daytime but turns extra cozy when lit up at night.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 43RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Unicorn pumpkin stencil

No one can resist a mythical unicorn with a flowing mane and cone-shaped horn. This design is easier to slice than you might expect, and the fantastical results are worth it. When choosing your costume, stay on theme with a unicorn family Halloween costume.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 44RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Werewolf pumpkin stencil

You can almost hear this nightmarish beast howling in the moonlight. As far as pumpkin-carving templates go, this is a win-win: It’s on theme and gives off plenty of light for trick-or-treaters.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 45RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Wizard pumpkin stencil

This wizard looks like he stepped right out of one of the best fantasy books. You could go with a witch, but if you’ve been there, done that, try this unexpected design instead.

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Pumpkin Carving Template 46RD.com, Getty Images (2)

Zombie pumpkin stencil

Want your house to be the one that kids run screaming from? Carve this spine-chilling zombie hand into your pumpkin, then plant more fake hands in your yard. It’ll look like the undead are ready to return from beyond.

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Once you’re done carving your favorite pumpkin design, read up on tips and tricks to make your carved pumpkin last longer.

Additional reporting by Chloë Nannestad.

Jamie Novak
Jamie is a cleaning and organizing expert with more than 20 years of experience. When she's not on deadline, you can find her searching for the mango slicer that mysteriously disappeared from her kitchen utensil drawer. The author of Keep This Toss That: the practical guide to tidying up she covers cleaning and organizing for RD.com.