Design ideas for carved pumpkins include traditional jack-o-lantern faces, silhouettes and copies of works of art. Other more intricate designs include carved animals, cookie-cutter style luminaries and etched designs.
Jack-o-lantern faces range from classic designs featuring triangular eyes, a rectangle for a nose and a smiling mouth with square teeth to a detailed portrait-styled carving of Frankenstein or the Wicked Witch of the West. The carvings are simple, silly, frightening or funny.
Silhouette carvings are another pumpkin carving option. Cats, full moon landscapes, leaves and haunted castles are good choices for general fall decor as well as Halloween decorations. A pattern traced on the pumpkin makes carving silhouettes easier.
Artwork offers inspiration for different designs. Starry Night or the Mona Lisa make eerie yet beautiful pumpkin carvings. Traditional Halloween stories, movies and books provide other sources of art to imitate on pumpkins.
Another design option meshes carved pumpkins together to build animals. Snakes, alligators, cats and owls come together with stacked and carved pumpkins. This technique produces decor that are either detailed and precise or fun and whimsical.
Precise geometric patterns on a number of pumpkins create a luminary effect. Circles, squares or lines of the same size and shape make the luminaries look uniform. Cookie cutters offer fall or Halloween-inspired shapes, such as witch hats, ghosts and leaves.
Etching pumpkins, instead of completely carving through them, produces a spooky effect. Etch a witch's profile, a harvest scene or a candlestick with dripping wax on the outside of the pumpkin. Depending on the pumpkin, some designs work best etched deep into the pumpkin, while others are lightly scratched into the outer shell.