The spookiest day of the year is right around the corner. Take your Halloween pumpkin game up a notch by showing off your graphic design skills with a custom carving, and get inspired with these Halloween pumpkin ideas!

It’s not too late to find the perfect pumpkin at a local patch and spend some quality time (along or with your family) crafting a carving that no one else on your street will have. Not sure where to start? Here’s we’ve collected 20 creative Halloween pumpkin carving ideas, from simple scenes to iconic graphic design elements to a few customized spooks.

1. Show Off Your Skills

pumpkin carving idea

Design a carving that isn’t a traditional Jack-o-Lantern. You can carve almost any scene that strikes your fancy with the right tools.

2. Pantone Pumpkin

pumpkin carving idea

Show off a little design humor with a Pantone-inspired carving that shows your favorite orange hue.

3. Geek Out

pumpkin carving idea

Show your code humor with a clever line that only designers and developers will understand.

4. Group Gourds

pumpkin carving idea

Come up with a creative way to create multiple carvings that connect using several pumpkins together.

5. Carve a Logo

pumpkin carving idea

Show your love for Adobe or WordPress with a logo carving.

6. Dedicate to a Special Character

pumpkin carving idea

Everyone has a favorite letterform or type element — mine is the ampersand — carve it creatively or using your favorite font.

7. Try a Trendy Element

pumpkin carving idea

It seems like sugar skull images are everywhere this season. Go trendy and carve one of your own.

8. Craft a Fictional Character

pumpkin carving idea

From star of horror movies to video game heroes, use your pumpkin carving skills to create a replica of your favorite fictional character.

9. Try Something Unexpected

pumpkin carving idea

Most pumpkin carvings feature designs on a round, head-on canvas. Turn the pumpkin around and cut out parts of it to create new shapes for a different spin on the carving, such as the fish, above.

10. Be Silly

pumpkin carving idea

Try a silly pumpkin carving design instead of creepers. This more family- and kid-friendly option might just be a hit at your house.

11. Take Advantage of Mistakes

pumpkin carving idea

Admit it, there’s been a time or two when you dropped the pumpkin and smashed it a little or when the carving just went a bit awry. Make the most of it with a double-pumpkin design and turn that mishap into a happy accident.

12. Pumpkins Plus Other Elements

pumpkin carving idea

Take your carving to the next level with add-ons. Organic elements are a natural fit, such as the greenery above. But you can also add lights or other materials for a mixed-media Halloween decoration.

13. Tattoo-Style Carving

pumpkin carving idea

One of the more recent trends in pumpkin carving is to create a design with cuts all the way through the flesh of the pumpkin as well as carving partially through the outer shell. (This can allow varying amounts of light to shine through and accommodate more intricate patterns.)

14. Make It Scary

pumpkin carving idea

Get in the holiday spirit with an absolutely scary design, such as the homage to Comic Sans above.

15. Use a Creepy Character

pumpkin carving idea

Or you can highlight the scary season with a character that’s actually creepy, such as a ghoul, goblin or less-than-friendly face.

16. Carve a Cool Pattern

pumpkin carving idea

Rather than focusing on just one side of the pumpkin, develop a pattern or texture that can be incorporated all the way around. (It’s a great chance to use a trendy geometric shape.)

17. Think in Theory

pumpkin carving idea

Go beyond a simple carving with a pumpkin concept that uses a lot of imagination. Note how the example above mimics the golden ratio in the shape of a nautilus.

18. Highlight a Fav Font

pumpkin carving idea

Show off your design skills with a special message featuring your favorite font. Who said a carving has to be a picture? Words are OK, too.

19. Think About Lighting

pumpkin carving idea

If you plan to put a candle your pumpkin make sure the carving is designed to let that light shine through. Create a design that will look great in the dark, even if you can’t see the pumpkin itself.

20. Stick with a Classic

pumpkin carving idea

Just because you can go crazy with pumpkin carving doesn’t mean you have to. Sometimes the best idea is the most simple, classic one. Carve a classic Jack O Lantern with and put a candle inside to light the way for trick or treaters.

How Do You Carve a Custom Pumpkin Design?

Turn your design into a template for a custom Halloween pumpkin graphic design carving. Here’s how you do it:

  • Create the design in Photoshop or Illustrator. Make sure to use plenty of thick lines between cut areas or you might end up with a butchered pumpkin. The easiest designs include full cutouts. The most complicated entail carvings that require more detailed cuts on thin lines or elements.
  • Print the design at a size to match your pumpkin. An outline design is sufficient and easiest to work with.
  • Transfer the design to the pumpkin for carving by covering the back of the paper with graphic or charcoal, taping the paper to the pumpkin and then tracing the design. Other options include adding a sheet of tracing paper between the printed design and pumpkin before tracing or attaching the design to the pumpkin and then “tracing” the design to the orange orb by poking holes in the paper through to the pumpkin as a carving guide.
  • Remove the paper from the pumpkin and then carve it using the outline guide you’ve created. Just make sure to cut the top off and scoop all the seeds out first. It will make for much easier (and cleaner) carving.

Source: Design Shack