Easy Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Pumpkin Carving Stencils for Halloween

Which pumpkin carving idea will you choose? Spooky or sweet?
Which pumpkin carving idea will you choose? Spooky or sweet?
9/22/22 - By Sally Chaffin Brooks

Halloween kicks off with your best pumpkin carving idea... The cornerstone of any great Halloween display—the jack-o'-lantern—is always one of our favorite things to do with kids in the fall, right after the apple picking and a pumpkin patch outing. Pumpkin carving is one of those rare activities that every member of the family can enjoy: little kids love the mess, big kids love the chance to wield a knife, and parents love to show off latent creative skills. From easy to timely to spooky pumpkin carving ideas, we’ve rounded up 20 of our favorite pumpkin carving stencils, all of which include a link to the FREE pumpkin carving stencil design.

Be sure to check out our Halloween Guide for loads more ideas for Halloween fun: We've got over 100 ideas for kids' Halloween costumes, scarily funny Halloween jokes for kids, Halloween movies for the whole family, and so much more.

And for Halloween activities near you, check out our Local Halloween Fun & Activities Guide!


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With a little practice and plenty of options, we're sure you'll find the pumpkin carving idea that captures your family's Halloween vibe, from Baby's First Halloween sweetness to Cyclops to superhero character themes.

Click through to the link for each FREE pumpkin carving idea and stencil.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Stencils for Halloween: Kids can pick their favorite characters. 
Simple shapes are just right for younger kids.

Easy Pumpkin Carving Ideas

If you love Halloween, but lack the knife skills or just want to let a younger kid get into this year's pumpkin carving fun, then these simple pumpkin carving stencils are for you.

1. Scaredy Cat

Cats and Halloween go hand in hand. This adorably spooked cat from The Pumpkin Lady (who, by the way, has over 900 free pumpkin carving templates on her website) looks intricate but is easy enough for young kids to master.

2. Cyclops

This goofy cyclops from DLTK Crafts for Kids puts a hilarious twist on your classic jack-o'-lantern face. Perfect for novice carvers.

3. If the Shoe Fits

 Add some witchy goodness to your pumpkin with these unmistakable witch shoes from The Pumpkin Lady. This fun design features easy shapes for your littlest pumpkin carvers.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Stencils for Halloween: Let kids help!

What characters and ideas delighted your kids this year?

Pop Culture and Character Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Some things jumped out to the forefront of pop culture this year; make your kids happy by carving a current favorite character.

4. Bingo from Bluey

Bluey, the wildly popular Disney Plus cartoon about an Australian dog family of four, has become required viewing for many families this year! This super easy Bingo pumpkin stencil is a huge hit with Bluey fans. (And if this isn't enough Bluey for you, you can throw a Bluey birthday party, too.)

5. Paw Patrol

Since Paw Patrol has taken over every other area in your life, why not Halloween? This printable PDF from Nickelodeon Parents gives you all your favorite Paw Patrol characters and more.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Stencils for Halloween: Baby Yoda 
Photo courtesy of babysaver.com

6. Baby Yoda (Grogu)

Call him baby Yoda, call him Grogu, chances are someone in your family is a big fan of this little guy. With 13 printable pumpkin templates to choose from, no matter your skill level, you're sure to find a perfect printable pumpkin stencil here.

7. Minions

The Minions were back this year, and there's just something about their shape that lends them perfectly to pumpkin carving.

RELATED: 101 Kids' Halloween Costume Ideas

Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Stencils for Halloween: Olaf
Olaf costume on the kid, Olaf face on the pumpkin!

8. Olaf

Olaf is always in style! You will not be able to stop smiling with this three-pumpkin Olaf creation hanging out on your front porch, courtesy of Disney Fanatic.

9. The Avengers

Did we just say forget the Avengers? Forget we said that. While a few of these designs are a little tricky, we can attest that the Captain America shield is reasonable for even amateur carvers, and Baby Groot is so cute, he's worth the extra effort.

10. Toy Story Aliens

Kids will be asking you to "take me to your candy" when they see this out-of-this-world Toy Story alien pumpkin from Disney Family. Bonus: this one is a pumpkin you paint, not carve, in case your carving skills aren't as sharp as they should be.

11. Peppa Pig

Your toddler will recognize their favorite little pig before you're even done carving.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Stencils for Halloween: Big kids can do their own. 
Big kids can help make the design on the pumpkin before cutting. Photo by Mama Marcia, via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

12. Pikachu

Pika! Pika! Your pumpkin is already the perfect shape to carve into a Pikachu.

13. The LEGO Movie

Mini-figures are relatively simplistic, so carving out the lines isn't as intricate as with more lifelike characters. 

14. Harry Potter

Muggles and house elves won't even need a wand to carve one of these 60 (!) free patterns from Baby Saver.

RELATED: 25 Halloween Games for Kids

Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Stencils for Halloween: Keep the mess outside! 
Special tools make it safe for kids to carve pumpkins. Photo by Mama Marcia, via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Scary Pumpkin Carving Designs

For those who embrace the darker side of Halloween, these templates will have the neighborhood kids spooked (in the best possible way).

15. Jack Skellington

Conjure up some King of Halloween Town goodness with this Jack Skellington of Nightmare Before Christmas template from Pumpkin Pile.

16. Ready or Not

Beware of the skeleton lurking inside your pumpkin with this creepy template.

17. Evil Clown

Your neighbors will cross to the other side of the street when you light up this scary clown pumpkin from Pumpkin Stencils.

Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Stencils for Halloween: Baby's First Halloween 
Baby's First Halloween photo courtesy of designbolts.com

Fun and Silly Pumpkin Stencils

If you come down on the lighter side of Halloween festivities, these fun and silly carving templates will be right up your alley.

18. Baby's First Halloween

Welcome a new addition to your Halloween tradition with this sweet "Baby's First Halloween" template from ZombiePumpkins.

19. Owl Stencils

Your Halloween will be a hoot when you turn your pumpkin into a feathered friend with these owl templates from Woo, Jr. Stencils range from basic to intricate.

20. Candy This Way

Let all the trick-or-treaters know that you’ve got the goods with this sweet Pumpkin Lady candy template.

Whichever pumpkin carving design you choose, don't forget to involve the kids. Scoop out the seeds and roast them together, and save a few smaller gourds from the pumpkin patch for pumpkin painting later. Happy Halloween from Mommy Poppins!

Additional contributions by Maureen Wilkey. Unless noted, photos are by Maureen Wilkey.