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Carve a Happy Pumpkin

Find new and intriguing carving ideas for your jack-o’-lantern this Halloween. Download our custom templates and follow these easy step-by-step instructions to create a happy-go-lucky pumpkin. Or mix and match templates to come up with other unique pumpkin faces.

Happy carved pumpkin face with stitch mouth on barrel.

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

A few hours

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Crafts knife
  • Paring knife
  • Scoop
  • Dremel rotary tool
  • Drill and bit set


  • Pumpkin
  • Painter’s tape

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources


Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns is a rewarding way to bring the family together while showing off your creativity. With a minimal investment of time and money, you can create playful Halloween decorations that will delight young and old alike. Download our free pumpkin carving patterns to create this happy-go-lucky jack-o’-lantern. 

How to Carve a Happy Pumpkin

Step 1

Scooping inside of pumpkin with jar lid.

Cut the top off a pumpkin, making a hole large enough to slide a hand through. Use the lid from a peanut butter or mayonnaise jar to scoop out the inside of the pumpkin. Scrape the inside walls carefully, removing more flesh on the side where the face will go. This will make carving easier.

Good to Know

If the carving pattern might interfere with the top of the pumpkin, you can make the entry hole in the bottom or back of the pumpkin instead.

Step 2

Scoring pumpkin through template with crafts knife.

Download Pumpkin Face Patterns, trim around the selected patterns and tape them to the pumpkin. Score the face of the pumpkin by tracing the outline of the template with a crafts knife. (Image shows a template for different eyes.)

Step 3

Drilling eye holes through pumpkin.

Remove the template and place the pumpkin in a bowl for stability. Drill a small pilot hole for each eye before enlarging the hole with a 3/8-inch drill bit. Carve out the rest of the eye with a paring knife. (Image shows a slightly different pumpkin face.)

Good to Know

The pilot holes safeguard the integrity of the pumpkin walls when using a large drill bit.

Step 4

Carving stitch mouth with crafts knife.

Using a crafts knife, make multiple shallow passes over the outline of the mouth, ending up about 1/8-inch deep.

Step 5

Popping out portion of stitch mouth.

Finish cutting through the outline of the mouth with a paring knife. Using your fingers, remove the remainder of the mouth by pushing from the back of the pumpkin.

Good to Know

Cutting through in the center of the mouth to create two equal portions makes it easier to remove the chunks.

Step 6

Carving stitch mouth with paring knife.

Following the score marks, use a paring knife to slice out the stitch-like teeth of the mouth.

Good to Know

You could carve the mouth and stitches at the same time, but because of the intricate detail, it will be easier to carve them separately.

Step 7

Removing rind from pumpkin mouth with Dremel rotary tool.

Use a Dremel rotary tool to add a shadow to the mouth by removing the rind.

Step 8

Removing the rind from a pumpkin with a paring knife.

Optional: If you don’t have a Dremel rotary tool, you can add a shadow to the mouth manually. Use a crafts knife to score the outline of the shadow, then peel the rind away with a paring knife.

Good to Know

You can follow the template when scoring the shadow of the mouth, but it will be easier to improvise by doing it freehand.

Serve up a happy Halloween this year with our free stencils and these easy pumpkin-carving steps.


Explore more pumpkin ideas: