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20+ Halloween Pumpkin Carving Ideas to Creatively Celebrate the Spookiest Time of Year

Pumpkin Carving Ideas

Photo: Paula Smith
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Decorative gourd season is upon us, and that means pumpkin carving is right around the corner. Now is the time to decide on your yearly design. There’s always the tried-and-true motif of triangle eyes, a nose, and a crooked smile, but throughout the years, artists have shown us the amazing possibilities that can be achieved with a big imagination and the right tools.

One of the most important characteristics separating an extraordinary pumpkin carving from an ordinary one is the way in which the flesh is carved. While it’s tempting to stick a cutting tool through to the center of the squash, try whittling away portions of the skin instead. In doing so, you can carve it like marble art. Many artists, most notably Villafane Studios, use this technique to create stunning details in ghoulish portraits or in fun nods to characters in pop culture.

If the idea of a marble-esque carving seems beyond your artistic skills, have no fear. Simply stencil the design of your choice onto a pumpkin and approach it like a conventional carving. Making a stencil is easier than you think; there are thousands of free designs online or even websites that will convert your photograph into a usable stencil.

Before you begin to decorate your porch with gourds, here are some of our favorite creative pumpkin carving ideas.

Check out 20+ pumpkin carving ideas below!

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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