Halloween spending has gotten scary. In 2016, Americans shelled out nearly $8.4 billion on Halloween sales — about $83 per person — according to the National Retail Federation. And this year, the NRF projects spending will reach $9.1 billion.
Fortunately, carving pumpkins is one affordable family-friendly activity you can enjoy. Need some inspiration? We’ve rounded up fun jack-o’-lantern faces and creative pumpkin designs so you’ll be ready to celebrate National Pumpkin Day on Oct. 26 and make your home Halloween-ready.
To download these pumpkin-carving patterns, click on the download link on each slide. Then, save the template as a PDF, print it out and follow the directions on the template. From Disney pumpkin stencils to Harry Potter stencils, you’ll love these easy and free pumpkin-carving patterns and ideas that will help you celebrate Halloween on the cheap.
1. Haunted House Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: A good technique for transferring the stencil to your pumpkin is to use a sharp tool to poke through the stencil and make holes on the pumpkin’s surface. You can poke holes along the entire stencil so that when you take the paper away, you’ll have a dotted outline of what you need to carve.
2. Mickey Mouse Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin carving-tips: When choosing a pumpkin to carve, jack-o’-lantern experts suggest finding a pumpkin with a thick, green stem. A dry and brittle stem means the pumpkin is older and has been drying out. A green, thick stem indicates that the pumpkin has moisture and thick walls, which are great for carving jack-o’-lanterns.
3. Black Cat Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: For better control and ease, hold the pumpkin in your lap when it’s time to carve the features. It’s easier to carve when the face is looking at you.
4. Batman Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: This Batman pumpkin stencil is easy to use and fun for the kids. To make the process safer for your children, use multicolored LED lights instead of candles to accessorize and customize your pumpkin.
5. Spider Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: Cutting and carving pumpkins can be tough, especially if the pumpkin has thick sides. To make the process easier, scrape the inside wall of the pumpkin beneath the area you intend to carve. The thinner walls will make it easier to cut.
6. Vampire Face Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: You can use your pumpkin scraps creatively and efficiently. For example, you can make a tongue for this face out of a discarded piece of pumpkin shell.
7. Ghost Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: If you want a cheap way to add some panache to your jack-o’-lantern, sprinkle a little cinnamon inside the lid. When you light the candle, your jack-o’-lantern should smell a little like pumpkin pie.
8. Frankenstein Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: If regular pumpkin-carving tools aren’t cutting it, think about expanding your arsenal. Pumpkin-carving experts often use paring knives, lemon zesters, rasps, Exacto knives, saws and clay sculpting tools, according to Mental Floss.
9. Skeleton Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: Jack-o’-lantern kits often come with an orange plastic scoop, which can work well enough. But you can also take advantage of bigger spoons, such as an ice cream scoop, to clear out the pumpkin’s innards efficiently.
10. Donald Trump Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: After you download the Donald Trump pumpkin stencil, remember this: Don’t cut out your jack-o’-lantern at the top and remove the stem. If you do, your pumpkin might lose its moisture too quickly. Instead, cutting a hole in the back helps retain moisture for longer.
11. Hillary Clinton Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: Another way to extend the life of your pumpkin art is to wrap it in plastic and keep it in the refrigerator.
12. Pokemon Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: A pumpkin’s innards can start to get moldy and spread to other parts of the pumpkin. It might be tedious, but scraping out everything and thinning the walls helps the jack-o’-lantern stay mold-free longer before it starts to break down.
13. Harry Potter Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: This Harry Potter pumpkin stencil will help you craft the perfect jack-o’-lantern. But don’t let your pumpkin shrivel after you put it on display. Use Vaseline or another kind of petroleum jelly to seal in moisture by spreading it on the edges where you did the cutting.
14. Witch Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: You can also spray your pumpkin’s surface with a light coating of vegetable oil to help keep in moisture. To prevent oxidation and mold, spread a little lemon juice diluted with water over the cut surfaces of the pumpkin.
15. Football Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: Another technique for preserving jack-o’-lanterns is to give the insides and outsides a rinse with a mixture of cold water and a little bleach. This mixture will also help prevent the pumpkin from getting moldy.
16. Disney’s Moana Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: If you want to channel your inner Disney princess, you should definitely check out this kid-friendly Disney pumpkin-carving template. And here’s a smart tip: If you don’t want to deal with sharp knives, you can use the template to draw an outline of Moana on your pumpkin with markers.
17. Wonder Woman Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: Get glow sticks from the dollar store, and use those to light your pumpkin instead of candles. It’s safer, and your light won’t disappear during a windy night. Plus, it gives you the option to have cool colors lighting your pumpkin instead of just a candle.
18. Star Wars Pumpkin-Carving Stencils
Pumpkin-carving tips: After you’re done carving your pumpkin, keep it safe and fresh. For example, bring it back inside during a hot or rainy day.
About the Author
Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert.