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11 Awesome Jack-O-Lantern Design Ideas

One of the most popular fall traditions is to carve a pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern. It’s a fun and inexpensive way to make memories with your loved ones and show off your creative side with innovative jack-o-lantern design ideas. Anything goes regarding what you carve into your pumpkin.

However, if you want to impress any trick-or-treaters this Halloween, you’ll want to think outside of the standard triangle eyes and a crooked smile.

Let’s look at our 11 awesome jack-o-lantern design ideas worth considering for your pumpkin this Halloween!

What Is a Jack-O-Lantern? 

A jack-o-lantern is a common sight on the front steps and windowsills of homes during the weeks leading up to Halloween. While pumpkins are the typical vegetable for this craft project, you can use turnips or any other root vegetable.

Whatever the artist carves into the pumpkin comes alive when they place a lit candle inside it. The bright light inside the jack-o-lantern helps emphasize the design. You’ll find everything from simple faces to complex designs that take a tremendous amount of time.

How Do You Carve a Good Pumpkin Design?

While anyone can cut a rudimentary face into a pumpkin, it takes special skills and tools to create the complex jack-o-lantern design ideas floating around the internet. No matter what design you choose, the first step will be to use a sharp serrated knife to cut around the top of the pumpkin to remove the lid.

Once you remove the top, start scooping out the seeds and gunk. It’s best to have a bowl or sack nearby to avoid making a giant mess and for easy disposal. You can also make roasted pumpkin seeds for a delicious fall treat.

Once all the seeds and fibers are out of the pumpkin, you’ll want to clean up the inside as much as possible. Use a spoon or scraper to clean the pumpkin’s interior. Be careful not to scrape away so much of the inside that you damage the integrity of the pumpkin.

Next, use a pen or marker to draw your design. You can use stencils or other aids. Take your time and ensure that you’re happy with the result before you start carving. You can use a wet paper towel or wipe to remove the pen and marker if you want to redo a section of the outline.

Once you’re happy with the design, grab a serrated knife and start carving. Always ensure you cut away from yourself and that there’s plenty of space between you and anyone else carving their pumpkin. You don’t want this fun Halloween experience to end in a trip to the emergency room.

Finally, drop a tea light at the bottom of the pumpkin. Light the candle and place the top onto the pumpkin. Turn the lights off in your room to relish your completed jack-o-lantern.

11 Awesome Jack-O-Lantern Design Ideas

Instead of settling for a generic jack-o-lantern face, why not spice it up this year with a new design? We’ve found 11 awesome jack-lantern design ideas to help your jack-o-lantern be the talk of the town and hopefully win any competition you might enter. Let’s take a look!

1. Scary Ghosts

Ghosts are a famous symbol for Halloween and can be an excellent option to consider for your pumpkin. The fun thing about carving ghosts into your pumpkin is that there is some flexibility in the way they look.

You can make them as spooky or friendly as you like, and they can help increase the eerie factor of your Halloween decorations.

Scary Ghost Pumpkin

2. Owl Pumpkin

The hoot of an owl can amplify the spookiness of a dark and quiet night. There’s something very unsettling about how their dark and mysterious eyes stare at you.

A jack-o-lantern design with an owl can set the mood for your porch or windowsill. Trick-or-treaters will be off-guard when they see the owl’s intense eyes staring at them as they grab their piece of candy.

2016 Owl Pumpkin Carving

3. Smiling Skeleton Face

Not every jack-o-lantern has to be scary. There’s something fun about creating a traditional pumpkin with a toothy smile. Just like people, there are infinite possibilities when designing a smiling skeleton face.

You can use a pattern or stencil to trace the smiling face onto your pumpkin or freehand it.

4. A Cat’s Face

Cats have always played a significant role in celebrating Halloween, primarily black cats. If you’re a cat lover, you can include your passion for cats in your jack-o-lantern design. It can be entertaining to show off your love for felines for Halloween.

Don’t be afraid to adjust the stencil when transferring the design onto your pumpkin. It’s your project; take as many creative liberties with your jack-o-lantern design ideas as you want.

5. Bats and the Moon

Another famous symbol for Halloween is bats and the moon. While the moon may not be that spooky under normal circumstances, seeing bats flying through the sky with the bright moon in the background can send chills up your spine.

This design embraces the two symbols and puts them into a single design. This is a simple but effective pattern that just about anyone can do.

6. Screaming Face

Since the late 1990s, the chilling “Scream” mask has been a popular Halloween costume. Why not embrace the aesthetic of this mask and carve it into your pumpkin? This rather basic design requires only a handful of easy-to-make cuts. Although it’s simple, take your time on the eyes and mouth to ensure you get the perfect look to optimize the scariness of the jack-o-lantern.

Close-up of screaming carnival mask object on a black background

7. A Scary Word

While the most common jack-o-lantern design ideas are faces, you can think outside the box and use words. For example, carving the words like “boo” or “trick or treat” can be a fun way to create a Halloween decoration.

There’s no limit on the amount or sizes of font that you can use on your pumpkin. Pick a word that fits your personality or the look you’re going for when decorating.

8. Turn the Pumpkin Into a Flower Pot

You can bring some life back into your jack-o-lantern by turning it into a flower pot. This is a creative way to decorate your porch and front steps for the season. Remove the top and clean out the insides as you would for an average jack-o-lantern, but place soil in the bottom and then plant your favorite greenery. Mums are a popular decoration throughout fall.

9. Puking Face

A puking face could be the perfect fit if you’re looking for jack-o-lantern design ideas that are a bit on the gross side.

When you finish carving the face out of the pumpkin, take some of the removed innards and hang them out of the jack-o-lantern’s mouth. Include some seeds to add some additional texture to the fake vomit.

10. Bedazzle With Glitter and Beads

Instead of taking away from your jack-o-lantern, why not add to it? To provide a unique look, you can bedazzle your jack-o-lantern with glitter and beads.

Most jack-o-lanterns only show off their true brilliance at night. However, by going this route, you can enhance the beauty and color of your pumpkin during daylight hours.

11. Paint On Your Favorite Design

Painting a pumpkin can be much safer than handing a bunch of people sharp objects. If you have small children or don’t want to worry about someone getting hurt with a knife, grab a few pots of paint and several paintbrushes and start painting your pumpkins.

What you and your loved ones can create with this simple method might surprise you.

Where Else Can You Find Jack-O-Lantern Design Ideas?

The internet is a tremendous resource for finding jack-o-lantern design ideas. Search through Pinterest and Instagram, and you’ll quickly discover there’s no shortage of possibilities. You can find templates to trace onto your pumpkin so you can easily carve them out. You don’t have to settle for a basic design anymore. Now you can see that these awesome-looking jack-o-lantern design ideas are relatively easy to accomplish!

Which design will you carve into your pumpkin this year? 

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