Iowa PBS Pumpkin Carving Stencils


I Heart IPTV Pumpkin Carving Stencil

IPTV Education Grow Your Mind Pumpkin Carving Stencil

IPTV KIDS Clubhouse Bunny Boo Bunches Pumpkin Carving Stencil

Greetings From Iowa Grave Pumpkin Carving Stencil

Watch Greetings From Iowa's October episode, The Grave Dowser, online.

Film Lounge Pumpkin Carving Stencil

Watch The Film Lounge: Halloween Style online or on air Oct. 27 at 11 p.m.

Iowa Ingredient Pumpkin Carving Stencil

Dracula Pumpkin Carving Stencil



Before you get started:

Remember, pumpkin carving can be difficult and dangerous and is something that should be done by adults. Small children should not handle sharp or pointed tools and children should always be supervised when they're around these tools. Small children can be enlisted to help select a pumpkin and a stencil, help in set up and cleaning, checking progress and potentially collecting pumpkin seeds for roasting.


  • Tape
  • Pumpkin carving kit or your own knives
  • Toothpicks
  • Newspaper
  • Pumpkin


Part 1: Prepare your area and pumpkin

  1. Pick a comfortable area with space to carve. Kitchen or picnic tables work well.
  2. Cover your carving area in newspaper.
  3. Carve a hole in the bottom of your pumpkin. This will be used both for your light and to remove the pumpkin seeds and center.
    • The hole in the bottom will ensure your light has a flat surface on which to sit.
    • We suggest an LED light. It will reduce the chance of fire and emits very little heat.
  4. Remove the pumpkin's interior using a large spoon.
    • You may want to try to scrape the area on the side where you'll be carving a bit more so that the pumpkin wall is thinner. This will make it easier to cut out the design.
    • However, don't scrape away too much. You'll need the wall to be at least a half-inch thick to allow you to both cut and scrape the outside of the pumpkin.

Part 2: Carving your design from the stencil

  1. Tape your stencil to the pumpkin.
  2. Use your toothpicks or the tip of a knife to poke holes through the black areas of the stencil to transfer pattern. Make sure to poke plenty of holes around the edges of the darkened areas so that you can see where you want to cut.
  3. Using the saw from your carving kit, or a knife, carve out the black areas.
  4. Using the scraper from your carving hit, or a knife, scrape out the grey areas.
    • If you don't have a scraper, you may want to use a knife to cut out the outline of the area to  be "scraped" and then "peel" away the area you've cut to reveal the lighter flesh underneath.