Every fall season, you’ll find me scouring the internet for creative pumpkin carving ideas, ranging from scary faces to artistic portraits to multi-pumpkin “collages.”
If you’re anything like most homesteaders and backyard gardeners, you’ll have grown a glut of pumpkins that are just crying out to be carved into something scary for Halloween!
However, if not, don’t panic – in the run-up to the spooky season, you can get pumpkins very cheaply from markets and grocery stores.
You can carve even the tiniest pumpkin or gourd to add a ghoulish twist to your Halloween decorations. If you’re planning a spooky spectacular this fall, why not go to town and fill your yard or driveway with carved cucurbit creations?!
Let’s look at some of the best scary pumpkin face carving ideas and go over some tips to help you get the best results when carving your pumpkins along the way.
Oh, and don’t forget to save some of your pumpkin seeds for next year’s crop too!
The Best Pumpkin Faces to Carve This Year
Scary Pumpkin Face Carving Ideas
Are you looking for some spooky ideas to add a scary face to your pumpkins? Well, you’ve come to the right place!
1. Scary Pumpkin Face by Bobby Duke Arts
This YouTube tutorial by Bobby Duke Arts is worth a watch if only for the theatrical dramatics!
The spooky voice had me hooked, but the methods used to create this design include some excellent tips to take your pumpkin carving skills to the next level.
One of the best ideas I learned from carving this scary pumpkin face is to use food coloring to highlight specific areas of your design, such as around the eyes and the teeth.
Placing the pumpkin on its side means you can also use the gnarly stalk as a scary hooked nose.
Make sure you watch the video to the end for a spooky scene that will get you in the Halloween mood!
2. Simple Spooky Toothy Grinning Pumpkin by Original Naked Chef
If it’s been a few years since you last carved a pumpkin, a little reminder of the best way to do it can be a godsend! That’s why I love this video from the Original Naked Chef. It shows you all the tools you’ll need and the best techniques.
Some of the top tips in this video include how to transfer your design onto the pumpkin using cocktail sticks and flour – absolute genius!
And best of all, he shows us how to do the ever-popular spooky toothy grinning pumpkin. Sometimes the classic designs are always the best!
3. Witch Pumpkin by Homecrux
This spooky Halloween pumpkin uses the stem as a nose, like in the first idea. However, the concept of adding accessories, like a hat and wig, are real game-changers. Although I love the spooky snarl-toothed grin of this creepy witch, you can take this idea and run with it.
Want a Frankenstein? Screw in some old rusty bolts and add a short black wig or some yarn to the top!
For a less scary take, you can also make pumpkins for each member of your family to make a cucurbit lookalike!
4. Scary Tooth-Picked Pumpkin Face From Smart Schoolhouse
If you want your pumpkin to have a genuinely menacing grin, use sharp toothpicks or nails to give them a scary smile. This trick can make any other pumpkin grin at least 100 times more terrifying.
Plus, it works as a convenient door-side dispenser when you need a toothpick after eating your Halloween candy.
5. Face-Less Pumpkin Face Carving by Betty Shaw
Out of all of these scary pumpkin face carving ideas, this one has to be my favorite.
I know you came here for scary pumpkin face carving ideas, but have you ever thought of scary pumpkin faceless carving ideas?
This design from Betty shaw deconstructs all of your expectations. She uses eyeballs from some of those cheap prop glasses and a skeleton hand, which you’ll find in almost any Halloween decoration shop.
This design is also straightforward to recreate. Just carve out the face of your pumpkin and chop around it. Then, insert the eyes and use a zip tie to secure the “mask” to the hand.
6. Scary Sewn-Shut Pumpkin Face Carving by Smart School House
This deceptively simple pumpkin design from Smart School House is superbly spooky and looks like a scary haunted scarecrow head. However, it’s one of the easiest scary pumpkin face carving ideas to execute.
To make the pumpkin, carve the face as usual. Then, use something sharp and narrow like a sewing awl, an x-acto knife, or a drill to punch holes around the eyes and mouth. Finally, sew in the design using any string or wire.
This pumpkin face carving has given me many ideas. Thanks to this hack, I plan to try weaving and embroidering my jack-o-lantern this year!
7. Fanged Vampire “Drac-o-Lantern” Pumpkins by Martha Stewart
This scary pumpkin face carving idea comes straight from the queen of crafts herself, Martha Stewart.
Carving these mini pumpkins is simple, as you’ll only need to cut out the mouth piece. Then, insert some cheap vampire teeth and use thumbtacks or a dab of paint to make glowing red eyes.
I’ve found that these little pumpkin minions make great indoor decor on dinner tables or at parties.
8. Hellraiser-Style Pumpkin by Home For the Harvest
This creepy nail-impaled pumpkin face carving idea from Home For the Harvest is one of the easiest to execute. Just carve up a face and go to town with all those old-rusty nails you have been hoarding in your garage.
Soon enough, you’ll have spent all your pent-up emotions on your jack-o-lantern, and you’ll have a terrific, terrifying pumpkin to display.
9. Sharkbait Pumpkin Face by Linda Lewis
This shark pumpkin face idea is menacing in all the right ways. You don’t even have to clean the inside – the spilling guts add to the aesthetic of this vicious but adorable shark.
Just carve the mouth and teeth, then cut some holes for a couple of ping pong balls. Paint the ping pong balls black, and stick them in!
10. Zombie Jack-o-Lantern by Woman’s Day
This scary pumpkin carving idea from Woman’s Day is perfectly spooky and cute at the same time.
The best part of this design is that you don’t need to carve the teeth since they’re made of pumpkin seeds! The eyes are also made of two cloves, so it’s completely compostable.
Cute Pumpkin Face Carving Ideas
If you’re looking for more of a cheery pumpkin face, some of these ideas might help.
1. Sweet Scarecrow Pumpkin by Country Living
I adore Country Living’s pumpkin carving ideas, and this one is sweet enough to brighten up anyone’s Halloween. You can use candy corn and your old corn husks to make it, so it’s a great pre-holiday snack dispenser to get you in the mood for Halloween. The trick-or-treaters love it, too!
2. Cute Cat Pumpkin Face Carving Idea by Ladyface Blog
This simple cat pumpkin face is effortlessly adorable and uses some fun techniques to make little feet and ears from the scraps after cutting out the face. So, if you want to try something new, give this purr-fect pumpkin a shot!
3. Frog Pumpkin by Better Homes and Gardens
This frog pumpkin only needs one crescent-shaped cut to get its signature grin. Then, you can paint your frog, attach some mini pumpkin eyeballs with toothpicks, and make paper legs for a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern.
4. Thirsty Vampire by Woman’s Day
This adorable vampire from Woman’s Day uses the parts from two pumpkins and some construction paper to create a happy character. You can also use different props and paints to add even more style to this classy guy and bring a bit of cheer to your holiday.
5. Lollipop Pumpkin from Country Living
This pumpkin face is so happy to see you, and you’ll also be happy to see it once you catch sight of its colorful lollipop hair! To make this cheery little fellow, you just need standard carving tools and a drill to punch some holes for your lollipops. The trick-or-treaters will adore it!
6. Star-Eyed Jack-o-Lantern by Southern Living
If you are more of a traditional pumpkin carver, adding some fun shapes like stars and moons for the eyes can add an extra Halloween-y flare to your jack-o-lantern. Try other shapes like hearts, flowers, or leaves to make a fall masterpiece!
7. Little Pumpkin Zombies from Martha Stewart
These cute little zombies don’t require too much detailed carving. However, assembling their bodies with construction paper, peanut shells, and a paper cup is where you can let your creativity take the reins.
This tutorial is also very quick and easy to follow, so I recommend it to anyone, even if you want to do this pumpkin craft with small kids.
8. Googly-Eyed Pumpkin Monster by Better Homes and Gardens
This pumpkin face carving idea is just as simple as the last one, and it also uses construction paper and disposable cups to give your jack-o-lantern a unique flare. Change the colors and eye positions for a hoard of cute little monsters!
Puking Pumpkin Face Carving Ideas
Looking for a pumpkin face carving idea that’s a bit more engaging? Take a look at these “barfing” pumpkins!
1. The Classic Staircase Puking Pumpkin by Bilgirt
Are you tired of cleaning out all of your pumpkin’s guts? Do you wish there was a better way to clean a pumpkin? Well, there is! Enter: the puking pumpkin.
You can carve any sort of face to open up the mouth, then stick your hand inside and pull the guts out.
Scatter the stringy seeds around a bit, and there you have it: an artistic pumpkin that will also feed your neighborhood birds and critters.
2. Guacamole Puking Pumpkin by My Food and Family
This pumpkin won’t win any prizes for tastefulness and elegance, but what a fun centerpiece for a Halloween buffet table!
This idea takes the vomiting pumpkin idea to the next level by creating an edible version.
This ‘puking’ pumpkin by Domestic Superhero includes delicious guacamole surrounded by crispy crackers and veggies for an incredible Halloween party centerpiece.
If you want to make this spookier, try adding streaks of different colored dips, such as brown bean dip, yellow cheese dip, and red beetroot hummus.
I also have plans to make a spread of “puking pumpkin” nachos this year. So, don’t be afraid to get creative!
3. Puking Foaming Pumpkin by Momfessionals
While this isn’t a carving tip, it was far too cool to pass up!
If you want your Halloween pumpkin carving to include a bit of a science lesson, this tip from Momfessionals is for you. Using hydrogen peroxide, dry baking yeast, and dish soap, you can make your carved pumpkin ooze a foamy slime!
Plus, since the foam is just soap, peroxide, and yeast, it practically cleans up after itself. What’s not to love?
Scary Pumpkin Face Carving Ideas For Multiple Pumpkins
Adding a few gourds and mini pumpkins can make your pumpkin cravings pop, and it’s a lot of fun to make a spectacular “collage” with these fruits.
1. Brainy Pumpkin by Skull-A-Day
Now, this scary pumpkin face carving idea by Noah Skalin at Skull-A-Day is very clever, indeed!
Here, Noah uses two pumpkins to create the effect of a brain popping out of a classic pumpkin head. To do this, you will need a large orange pumpkin and a smaller white pumpkin or squash.
You’ll carve the larger one traditionally, and you can design the face to be however you want it – scary, smiling, or even shocked!
You then cut the bottom off your smaller pumpkin, scoop out the insides and carve brain patterns into the top. The tricky bit is then getting this to sit neatly on top of your large pumpkin head!
Pop a candle or tealight inside, and voila! The light will illuminate the ‘brain’ of the pumpkin, guaranteed to creep your Halloween guests.
2. Skeleton “Snow Man” Pumpkin by Erratic Project Junkie
Although this scary carved pumpkin has a spooky Jack Skellington-esque face, the idea of layering pumpkin atop pumpkin to make a whole Halloween-man is entirely original.
You can recreate this original design from Erratic Project Junkie with three pumpkins, some skewers to keep it upright, and some skeleton arms.
Still, you can also take it in a different direction to make a snowman – complete with a gourd nose.
3. Pesky Puny Pumpkin Attack by Betty Shaw
You know when you get to the end of fall, and you’re left with all those little gourds and pumpkins that didn’t quite make it to full size? They would be perfect for this Pesky Puny Pumpkin Attack design by Betty Shaw!
I love the look of horror on this pumpkin’s face as a hoard of tiny squashes is attacking it. If you have any green gourds, they will look great for this design!
4. See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil Pumpkins from Society 19
If you want to make a statement with your Halloween pumpkin carving projects, try this one from Society 19 out! It’s similar to the pumpkin-man, but instead of creating a body, you’re making a pumpkin “totem,” so to speak.
Carving is probably the easiest part of this project. Just carve three faces and stick some mini pumpkins inside to make the eyeballs. Then, you’ll need some skewers to secure all of the pumpkins in place.
5. Angler Fish Pumpkin by Tina S
This next-level pumpkin face idea takes a bit of engineering to carve, but it’s well worth it. With a bit of wire, a LED light, and patience, you’ll have the most unique pumpkin in your neighborhood. Just… don’t walk into the light.
More Unique Designs For Carving Halloween Pumpkins
While scary carved pumpkin faces are a true classic, there are tons of more artistic designs you can carve into these orange fruits.
1. Tinkerbell Pixie Dust Pumpkin by Luis Linares
This cute little Tinkerbell design will appeal to all the fairy fans in your family! The trailing pixie dust effect looks beautiful and is surprisingly simple to create.
To help you make this clever design, Luis Linares has made a step-by-step guide for you to follow.
You might need something brighter than a candle to give this design the full impact it deserves. A battery-powered LED light should do the trick, giving Tinker Bell the dazzling trail of pixie dust she merits!
2. Landscape Design from the Chester County Press
This landscape design spotted at the Chester County Great Pumpkin Carve in Pennsylvania is a great idea for carving your pumpkin.
You can use a reference photo of any landscape to make a design like this, adding spooky bats, monsters, a haunted house, ghosts, a cemetery, and anything else that says “Halloween” to you.
3. Pirate Ship Pumpkin By Martha Stewart
This Martha Stewart tutorial is easy to follow, although you may need a drill and some foam board to make it just like Martha did. Add some tiny pumpkin pirates to the mix and stage a naval battle at your doorstep!
4. Spider’s Nest Pumpkin by Camilla
If you want a simple trick to carving your scary pumpkins for Halloween, this design from Camilla on Family Chic might be what you are looking for.
Just slice the pumpkin in half, clean out the hollow sides, then drive some screws around the edges. Stick on some faux spider webs and a plastic spider, and you have a spooky spider nest to light up your porch.
5. Bat-O-Lantern by Mommy Bytes
This scary pumpkin carving idea is perfect if you want to stick to traditional Halloween designs but uniquely apply them. Add a candle to this carving, and you’ve got a perfectly spooky atmosphere for fall.
6. Cookie Cutter Pumpkin Carving
If you aren’t too great at cutting out shapes in your pumpkins, let me introduce the Halloween hack of the century: cookie cutters.
With a mallet and some metal cookie cutters, you can make perfect, clean, and small images in your pumpkins with little effort. So, grab all your cookie cutters and see what you’ve got before planning your next jack-o-lantern!
7. Mouse and Cheese Pumpkin by Better Homes and Gardens
If you have some Halloween rubber mice lying around, this pumpkin carving idea from Better Homes and Gardens couldn’t be any easier – or cheesier! Just cut holes in your pumpkin and set up a little colony of fake mice around it.
8. Duck Squash Found on imgur
Are you not feeling like carving into a pumpkin and getting the guts all over your hands and kitchen? Make these adorable yellow squash ducks instead!
You only need a bit of wire and a dab of black paint for the eyes!
Then, prop them up all over your porch or doorstep for a gathering that is anything but fowl.
9. Little Pumpkin House by Emmilingo
This cute carved pumpkin house by Emmilingo is easy to make, but it’s also super original. All you need is one big pumpkin and one small one. Then, light it up and decorate the interior to make your baby pumpkins feel right at home.
10. Carved Pumpkin Vase by Bloom & Wild
This pumpkin vase tutorial is incredible, and making your own is a fantastic way to decorate for fall organically.
You can also shorten your vase and add a clear plastic container as a prop inside to create more space and carve a unique face into your pumpkin for a fragrant, colorful jack-o-lantern vase.