17 Last-Minute Jack-o'-Lantern Ideas for Halloween

Now's the time to get carving!

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If you usually carve your Halloween pumpkin with a couple of triangle eyes then call it a day, it might be time to rethink your game plan. Elaborate carved pumpkins are more and more the norm, and the truth is: you’re only limited by your imagination.

We’ve rounded up our favorite jack-o'-lanterns from Instagram, and there isn’t a plain one in the bunch.

Haunter From Pokemon

This pumpkin captures the image of Haunter, a character from Pokemon. Haunter is a purple ghost-like character made up of gasses. He hides in dark places so he can take the life of the next living thing that crosses his path. This pumpkin is his perfect likeness.


Since we’re all emoji-obsessed on our smartphones, it makes sense that emojis would find their way onto Halloween pumpkins. If you’re anxious about actually carving a pumpkin, these easy DIYs are a great solution.


Even Angelina Jolie would be proud of this stunning Maleficent carved pumpkin. This pumpkin was created by an artist to celebrate the November 4 DVD release of the popular Sleeping Beauty-inspired movie.

Pumpkin-Eating Pumpkin

This is a fun take on the standard carved pumpkin: a pumpkin eating another little pumpkin. If you’re not quite ready to carve a masterpiece but you’d still like to take things to the next level, adding a little pumpkin coming out of the mouth of your jack-o'-lantern could up the scary factor quite a bit.

Frankenstein's Monster

If you love scary old movies, it might be time to carve a Frankenstein pumpkin like this. Although they used a regular round pumpkin, this would also be a great character to go for if you happen to have a taller, more oblong pumpkin. And if you want to embrace #girlpower, you could even carve the bride of Frankenstein's monster.

City of San Francisco

This would be a fun pumpkin-carving project to take on no matter which city you live in. This pumpkin depicts the Golden Gate Bridge; however, you could easily pick out the most prominent landmark in your city and carve it into your Halloween pumpkin.

Day of the Dead

In honor of the November holiday in Mexico, this carved pumpkin takes on the teardrop characteristics of typical Day of the Dead decor. If you wanted to jazz it up a bit, you could even add some colorful paint to your pumpkin.

Man-Eating Pumpkin

This hilarious man-eating pumpkin would look great on a front porch or lawn as part of a larger overall Halloween display. If you’d like to recreate this, make sure you carve a larger mouth in your pumpkin so you can fit your faux leg or arm.

Jack Nicholson

This Jack Nicholson-carved pumpkin pays homage to the creepy Jack Torrance character from The Shining. To create an extra terrifying Halloween vignette, write "Red Rum" in temporary ink on your window or on a sign on your front porch.

Trick or Treat

Instead of carving a face, consider carving a message into our pumpkin. A simple "Trick or Treat" works great, but other phrases might include "Happy Halloween," "Spooky" or "Boo."

Pretty Designs

Another alternative to carving a face is to carve a pretty pattern into your pumpkin. You could carve your design into the front and leave it sitting next to your door, or tackle the entire pumpkin and place it in a more prominent area in the front of your home.

Ghost Rider

This pumpkin pays homage to the Marvel comics character Johnny Blaze (or Ghost Rider). The story goes that in order to save the life of his father, Ghost Rider agreed to give his soul to Satan.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

It might be too early to put up your Christmas tree, but you can still get ready for the holidays by carving a Nightmare Before Christmas-themed pumpkin.

Pumpkin Monster

This is a fun project if you’d like to create a completely unique jack-o'-lantern. Clean out your pumpkin very carefully to make sure all the guts and seeds are removed, then add some smaller pumpkins or gourds to represent several different types of pumpkin monsters.

Pumpkin Burger

This might be our favorite on the list: a pumpkin burger. This adorable carved pumpkin would be the perfect addition to your table if you happen to be throwing a Halloween dinner or get together for family and friends.

Pumpkin Vampire

If you’re not a Frankenstein fan but would still like to keep it in the supernatural world, consider carving a vampire pumpkin like this one. Or if Edward from Twilight is more your style, you can carve one that’s not quite so scary.

Bloody Pumpkin

This bloody pumpkin display really amps up the scary factor. You can easily recreate this by adding some red paint to your pumpkin or your table and using a faux rubber hand to hang out of the pumpkin’s mouth.

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