This Saturday we took advantage of the beautiful weather and went to Shaw Farms' Fall Festival where we
Using a pumpkin carving template to create a detailed design was much easier than we had expected and our kids loved the result (as did our trick-or-treaters)! If you haven't used a carving pattern before, it's pretty simple: you clean out the pumpkin as usual, print out your pattern (if needed, you can resize it on your computer or use a photocopier to get the pattern size that best fits your pumpkin), attach the pattern to the pumpkin with tape, use a nail or piercing tool to make closely spaced pin pricks along the stencil lines, and then use a small knife to carve the pattern - we used the small cutting tools from an inexpensive pumpkin carving kit similar to this one:
Most pumpkin carving kits include a few paper patterns and there are several online sites where you can buy patterns but there's also plenty of free ones online. As we searched for the perfect pattern to use in carving up our pumpkins this year, we came across some phenomenal free patterns so I thought I'd share the sources for our favorite patterns as well as some links that will give you hundreds of other options.
The Boston terrier carving pattern that we used last year came from Better Homes and Gardens' Carving Stencils of Favorite Dogs, which is a great source for patterns of all sorts of different dog breeds. Some of my favorites are the golden retriever pattern,
the Jack Russell terrier pattern,
and the pug pattern:
Better Homes and Gardens also has a collection of Carving Stencils of Favorite Cat Breeds with breeds such as the Ragdoll cat
and the Bengal cat:
In addition to dog and cat patterns, Better Homes & Gardens has some great Woodland Themed Pumpkin Stencils such as this owl carving pattern
and this raccoon carving pattern:
Martha Stewart's online site includes several pumpkin carving patterns, including a pattern for creating this funky faux-bois pumpkin
as well as this more traditional night owl pumpkin:
Other design favorites we've found are this haunted tree pattern
and a flame design pattern that allows you to create a faux campfire with a group of small pumpkins:
There are lots of patterns of super heroes and other kid friendly characters but my favorite is this intricate pattern of Spiderman:
There's even patterns for you Twi-Hards, whether it be this pattern with Edward and Bella
or this pattern that is the one to choose if you're on Team Jacob:
A few of my other favorites are this owl and falling leaves pattern,
and, for those of you who like to go all the way, a Vulture's Cage pattern:
There's lots and lots of other free patterns out there - here are some great sources if you want to continue your pattern search:
Pumpkin Masters: 10 creative templates
Halloween Pumpkins: 38 templates in a variety of designs
HGTV Beginner Halloween Pumpkin-Carving Templates: 22 templates designed for beginner carvers
DLTK Pumpkin Carving Patterns: over 50 patterns in a variety of designs
BHG Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, & Other Iconic Halloween Pumpkin Stencils:
20 traditional designs
Pumpkin Pile: Hundreds of patterns including traditional designs, cartoons, movie and sports figures, super heroes, celebrities, animals, video games, and car symbols
Parenting Magazine Halloween Pumpkin Carving Stencils: 18 simple, traditional designs
Martha Stewart Carve By Color Templates: a small collection of templates including a vine and leaf design, three haunted houses, witch silhouette, and cat.
Pink Ray Gun: lots of unique designs such as Ghostbusters, Jon Stewart, Vampire Bill from True Blood, Michael Jackson's Thriller, Harry Potter, and more.
Looking for some fun Halloween treats to make too? Check out this post for info on how to create two quick and easy ones - popcorn monster hands and witch hat cookies!