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September 07, 2022 2 min read

Whether a plain pumpkin or getting creative with carving, I’m all about “decorative gourd season”, as they say. Sometimes with kids, simplest is best though. So, here is a list of simple Jack-o-Lantern designs to get your child’s creative juices flowing (and save you a night of labored, nervous carving).

1. Toothpick terror

jack-o-lantern with a mouth full of toothpics
This simple but spooky design eliminates the need for precise tooth carving, and uses toothpicks for a shark-like mouth instead! They add a sinister look that traditional Jack-o-Lanterns lack, and since the toothpicks are compostable, that means simple disposal as well.

Image source: The Nature Exchange.

2. Something a little cheesy

jack-o-lantern with swiss cheese holes and toy mice climbing

If you’re more interested in cute ideas than spooky ones, this mice-infested Swiss cheese design might be perfect! If you can cut some simple circles and find some cheap mice or rat toys, then you can put this one together no problem.
Image source: BHG, Greg Scheidemann

3. Something a little punny

jack-o-lantern with Pi symbol cut out

Puns this simple usually annoy me more than they entertain me, but this pumpkin pi design was too clever not to share. Number matrix optional.
Image source: Stephen Johnson

4. Dyeing to be different

jack-o-lantern with Pi symbol cut out

These Jack-o-Lantern designs are simple enough to carve, but the dye is what really gives them such a unique flair. The contrast between the subtle hues on the skin and the saturation on the insides adds a splash of unexpected color to your Halloween decor. (Just be sure to use natural food dye!) 
Image source: Family Chic

5. Silence of the pumpkins?

jack-o-lantern eating a pumpkin

These cannibal Jack-o-Lanterns are an idea I’ve seen pop up online many times, but I’ve never seen one out in the real world before. And it’s so simple! A perfect use for a little pumpkin, too!

6. Squirrelly success

jack-o-lantern eating a pumpkin

You can watch your pumpkin get “carved” in real-time in your backyard - and all you need is some peanut butter! The squirrel nibbles help these pumpkins to look extra ghoulish.
Image source: Flannel and Flame

I'd be remiss if I didn't remind you to be use that pumpkin well: roast the seeds, use the stringy flesh in broth, and compost your finished work. Let's keep these gourds out of the landfill! Got a creative Jack-o-latnern idea, share it with us! But most of all, hope you and your family have a blast doing it.