Using a Pumpkin-Carving Template

Our top tips for carving a Halloween pumpkin using a printed template, plus HGTV-exclusive pumpkin-carving templates.
Carved Pumpkins

Using a Pumpkin-Carving Template

Our top tips for carving a Halloween pumpkin using a printed template, plus HGTV-exclusive pumpkin-carving templates.

Materials and Tools:

fresh pumpkin 
download templates: Beginner or Advanced
tracing paper
charcoal or graphite pencil
wooden skewer or template wheel
ballpoint pen
tape
carving tools

Steps:

1. Cut a hole in the pumpkin's bottom or back and remove the seeds.

2. Print a template onto copier paper.

3. Next, transfer template to pumpkin.

There are several great options for transferring a template:

Tracing Wheel

Template Wheel

Another handy tool for transferring a pattern by poking holes is called a template wheel. These are found in many pumpkin-carving kits and make pattern transfer quick and easy.

  • Cover the back of the paper template with graphite by scribbling over the lines with a pencil. Then tape the template with the graphite-scribbled side next to the pumpkin. Trace the template image onto the pumpkin with a ballpoint pen. The pressure from the pen will cause the graphite to transfer onto the pumpkin.
  • Place a sheet of tracing paper between the printed template and pumpkin, and tape both to the pumpkin. Then, trace the template image onto the pumpkin with a ballpoint pen.
  • A third option is to tape the template to the pumpkin then transfer the pattern by repeatedly poking small holes through the template's design with a wooden skewer, nail or other sharp, pointed object. Another handy tool for transferring a pattern by poking holes is called a template wheel. These are found in many pumpkin-carving kits and make pattern transfer quick and easy.

4. Use the newly transferred lines as your carving guide.

When creating a template; think outside the box. Creative ideas include:

  • Using your computer to print out your family's name or a monogram (Image 1).
  • Spelling out a short word by carving one letter into each pumpkin and then placing the pumpkins together.
  • Printing out a family photo and transferring the profile to a pumpkin to create a silhouette (Image 2).
Silhouette on Pumpkin

Using a Pumpkin-Carving Template

When creating a template, think outside the box. Creative ideas include: Printing out a family photo and transferring the profile to a pumpkin to create a silhouette design.

Next Up

Halloween Jack-o'-Lantern Luminaries

Fill clear buckets with battery-operated tea lights to easily craft kid-safe, fireproof luminaries to light up your Halloween celebrations.

Candy Corn Wreath

Create a festive Halloween wreath for under $5.

Flying Bats

Create a flock of flying bats in minutes.

How to Make a Candy Corn Pinata for Halloween

Halloween swings into action with this candy corn piñata. Party guests large and small will enjoy taking a shot at this treat-filled decoration.

Make a Headless Horseman Figure for Halloween

Give trick-or-treaters a scare by constructing a near lifesize headless horseman door greeter who points the way to the candy.

Fabric-Pattern Painted Pumpkin

Instead of carving a pumpkin this year, leave it whole and embellish it with one of your favorite fabric patterns — damask, trellis or chevron are all great options.

Outdoor Halloween Decoration: Banister Owls

Create owl silhouettes from plywood then temporarily attach them to your front porch for a sophisticated (and spooky!) outdoor Halloween decoration.

Make Ghostly Outdoor Draperies for Halloween

Add a spooky touch to your front porch this Halloween with billowing, tattered draperies made from budget-friendly cheesecloth.

How to Make Peekaboo Pumpkins

Create a spooktacular vignette of peeking pumpkins using miniature gourds and a variety of inexpensive bowls and lidded dishes.

Trash Bag Spider Webs

Dramatic, inexpensive and, best of all, these Halloween decorations are made from materials already in the house.
More from:

Halloween Ideas

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

On TV

Fixer Upper

6am | 5c

Fixer Upper

7am | 6c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

Home Town

3pm | 2c

Home Town

4pm | 3c

Home Town

5pm | 4c

Home Town

6pm | 5c

Home Town

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Home Town

8pm | 7c

Home Town

10pm | 9c

Home Town

11pm | 10c

Home Town

1am | 12c

Home Town

2am | 1c

Home Town

3am | 2c

Home Town

4am | 3c

Home Town

5am | 4c

Watch Live TV

Don't miss your favorite shows.

Live Stream HGTV Now

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.