What are Some Jack-O-Lantern Designs?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Although spooky or jolly jack-o-lantern designs still have plenty of appeal, some people want a slightly more creative decorated pumpkin for Halloween. There are fortunately plenty of ideas for carving or otherwise decorating pumpkins that are both creative and fun. Even if you don’t have incredible artistic skills, you can still take advantage of plenty of jack-o-lantern designs or make up your own.

Jack-O-Lanterns are usually carved into pumpkins, though they can be carved into squash.
Jack-O-Lanterns are usually carved into pumpkins, though they can be carved into squash.

If you’re not a fan of carving, you don’t have to. You can certainly paint faces or designs on pumpkins, which allows you to celebrate Halloween or even make a great fall centerpiece without all the mess. If you never were the artistic type, your designs can be more easily executed if you used stencils. You’ll find different stencil types to use with standard pumpkin carving kits, but you can also pick up plenty of stencil designs at craft stores.

Children may choose to paint faces on pumpkins.
Children may choose to paint faces on pumpkins.

On the other hand if you want jack-o-lantern designs that involve carving, you can use stencils for this too. You certainly don’t have to give your pumpkin a face. You can cut out the outline of a cat, the moon, a fall leaf, or you can even use multiple pumpkins to spell out a word or phrase like “BOO!” The natural artist can take this even further, creating very advanced cutout jack-o-lantern designs. Really you are only as limited as your imagination.

One fun thing to do is to use several carved pumpkins to create an animal. A long pumpkin topped with a smaller pumpkin can be transformed into a cat quite easily. Cut out a few wedges of pumpkin for the ears. If you are stacking pumpkins on top of each other, be sure to use safety lights and not candles, since these may be fairly easy to knock over.

Even if you prefer standard jack-o-lantern designs like spooky faces, you can create little and interesting changes. Give your pumpkin eyebrows, or a hat (again if you’re using safe lights). One design that may be appealing is the “vomiting guts” pumpkin. Once you’ve carved the pumpkin and set it up, place pumpkin guts inside the mouth and on the ground right next to the mouth.

You can also vary the kind of lights you use with your jack-o-lantern designs to create different effects. Use flashing strobe lights or glow sticks inside a pumpkin or use lights on a timer or motion sensor to flash just as trick-or-treaters arrive at your door. It’s said that Halloween is a great time to be a kid again, for all of us. How does your inner child want to wow people with their pumpkin design this year?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


Thanks. this article helped me a lot in knowing how i can bring out the best designs and patterns on my jack-o'lantern. simply loved it! - Smita


While I like a traditionally carved jackolatern face, I also like the stenciled silhouettes of a witch flying on her broom, or of a cat. With the light behind it, it just looks very cool.

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