Halloween just wouldn't be Halloween without a jack-o'-lantern. Whether you prefer a ghoulish pumpkin design or a goofy one, the pumpkin carving patterns provided in this article make carving the perfect pumpkin easy. Or, you can use these patterns to create your own creepy pumpkin face. We'll cover how to use pumpkin carving patterns and even adjust them to fit the size of your pumpkin.

Designs and Patterns

The design you carve into your jack-o'-lantern can be simple or fancy, but it will be easier if you first work out the design on paper. Use the enlargement guide below to figure out how big to make the pattern.

Trim the excess paper from the pattern. Dry the pumpkin, then position the pattern with masking or painter's tape. Use a pushpin, nail, or ballpoint pen to trace the outline of the pattern by poking small holes through the paper and the pumpkin skin. The closer the holes, the finer the detail you can achieve.

Halloween Candy Image Gallery

Trace the outline of the pattern by poking small holes into the pumpkin.
Trace the outline of the pattern by
poking small holes into the pumpkin. See more Halloween candy pictures.

When you have finished poking the holes, remove the pattern and set it aside for reference. To better see the design, rub flour into the holes or use a pen or marker to "connect the dots."

Use a pen to connect the dots when carving a pumpkin.
Use a pen to connect the dots.

Enlargement Guide

Measure the pumpkin's face (where you will place the design), then find the corresponding percentage on the chart below. Key in that percentage when you photocopy the pattern. You may need to adjust the percentage to fit your particular pumpkin.

Pumpkin Size
Enlargement Needed
6-inch
200%
7-inch
233%
8-inch
266%
9-inch
300%
10-inch
333%
11-inch
366%
12-inch
400%
13-inch
433%
14-inch
466%
15-inch
500%

Now that you know how to size a pattern and transfer it to the pumpkin, let's look at some fun patterns you can use. Funny-face pumpkin patterns, especially popular with kids, are on the next page.

To make the most out of your Halloween, try these:

  • Halloween Stories: Check out this article for bone-chilling ghost stories and other scary Halloween tales.
  • Halloween Crafts has great do-it-yourself projects for Halloween, from trick-or-treat boxes to candy jewelry.
  • Halloween Decorations: Set a spooky Halloween scene for less by making your own decorations. Instructions for dozens of decorations are included.
  • Kids' Halloween Costumes: See this article for unique costume ideas for your ghosts and goblins.
  • Halloween Masks: Want an easy way to dress up for Halloween? Try a mask instead of a costume.
  • Halloween Games includes more than 20 spooktacular games to entertain kids and adults alike.
  • Halloween Recipes: Learn how to make dozens of bewitching Halloween treats.
  • How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds: Don't discard those pumpkin "guts!" Find out how to make a traditional holiday snack.
  • How Halloween Works traces the popular holiday's Celtic roots to American traditions celebrated today.

Funny Pumpkin Patterns

These three happy faces are just right for the younger set or for those adults who like to keep things on the light side. The patterns are hyperlinked PDFs that you can download and print out. The first one -- which we call Traditional Jack -- should be quite familiar.

Traditional Jack, Smilin' John, and Big Tooth Magee funny pumpkin designs.
Traditional Jack, Smilin' John, and
Big Tooth Magee funny pumpkin designs.

Traditional Jack
  1. Carve the nose.

  2. Carve the remaining features. Customize the design by adding or deleting teeth. To simplify, omit the teeth and the irises in the eyes.
Smilin' John
  1. Carve the eyes and nose.

  2. Carve the mouth and chin. Be careful not to make the connection for the tongue too thin.

  3. Carve the eyebrows.
Big Tooth Magee
  1. Carve the eyes and nose.

  2. When carving the teeth, work from the top down. Be careful not to make the connections between the teeth too thin.

  3. Carve the brow.

Looking to cause a fright with your jack-o'-lantern? The next page of this article has patterns for three creepy carvings that are sure to spook anyone.

To make the most out of your Halloween, try these:

  • Halloween Stories: Check out this article for bone-chilling ghost stories and other scary Halloween tales.
  • Halloween Crafts has great do-it-yourself projects for Halloween, from trick-or-treat boxes to candy jewelry.
  • Halloween Decorations: Set a spooky Halloween scene for less by making your own decorations. Instructions for dozens of decorations are included.
  • Kids' Halloween Costumes: See this article for unique costume ideas for your ghosts and goblins.
  • Halloween Masks: Want an easy way to dress up for Halloween? Try a mask instead of a costume.
  • Halloween Games includes more than 20 spooktacular games to entertain kids and adults alike.
  • Halloween Recipes: Learn how to make dozens of bewitching Halloween treats.
  • How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds: Don't discard those pumpkin "guts!" Find out how to make a traditional holiday snack.
  • How Halloween Works traces the popular holiday’s Celtic roots to American traditions celebrated today.

Scary Pumpkin Patterns

Spine-tingling delights are in store for you with these gruesomely ghastly pumpkin carvings. The patterns are hyperlinked PDFs that you can download and print out. The patterns need to be enlarged on a copier to match the size of your pumpkin. Match the size of the pumpkin with the enlargement guide.

Howlin' Wolf, Glare Scare, and and Eye See You scary pumpkin designs.
Howlin' Wolf, Glare Scare,
and Eye See You scary pumpkin designs.

Howlin' Wolf
  1. Carve the nose. If the scrap pieces aren't easy to push out, cut them into smaller pieces to remove.

  2. Carve the mouth, being careful not to cut off the teeth.

  3. Carve the ears, top of the head, and jowls. To simplify, create the features by cutting zigzag lines and leaving scraps in place. The light from the inside will still shine through the cuts.
Glare Scare
  1. Carve the eyes, the eyebrows, and then the nose.

  2. Carve the smaller teeth. Finish by cutting the large fangs.
Eye See You
  1. Drill holes for the center of the eyes (or push a pen or pencil into the pumpkin to create the holes). Carve the rest of the eyes and the bottom lashes.

  2. Carve the top eyelashes starting at the center and working out.

No matter what kind of pumpkin you want to carve, you can use the patterns and advice in this article to create the pumpkin of your Halloween dreams -- or nightmares.

To make the most out of your Halloween, try these:

  • Halloween Stories: Check out this article for bone-chilling ghost stories and other scary Halloween tales.
  • Halloween Crafts has great do-it-yourself projects for Halloween, from trick-or-treat boxes to candy jewelry.
  • Halloween Decorations: Set a spooky Halloween scene for less by making your own decorations. Instructions for dozens of decorations are included.
  • Kids' Halloween Costumes: See this article for unique costume ideas for your ghosts and goblins.
  • Halloween Masks: Want an easy way to dress up for Halloween? Try a mask instead of a costume.
  • Halloween Games includes more than 20 spooktacular games to entertain kids and adults alike.
  • Halloween Recipes: Learn how to make dozens of bewitching Halloween treats.
  • How to Bake Pumpkin Seeds: Don't discard those pumpkin "guts!" Find out how to make a traditional holiday snack.
  • How Halloween Works traces the popular holiday’s Celtic roots to American traditions celebrated today.