Halloween is once again almost upon us and these creative cat and dog pumpkin carving ideas will let you kick off this spooktacular holiday in style. Whether you're wanting to carve your fur friends face into a pumpkin or you're looking for something a little different, you'll find plenty of great options in this guide.
Pumpkin carving is one of our favorite fall activities and not only can it be a fun way to decorate your home, it's also a lovely activity for the whole family to participate in - especially children, who can let their imaginations run wild. If you're looking for more enjoyable activities to do together, we highly recommend whipping up a batch of our favorite homemade Halloween dog treats.
One of the other perks of pumpkin carving is that it can be a fantastic alternative if you have a fur friend who isn't keen on being made to dress up in one of the best Halloween costumes for cats or best Halloween dog costumes. This way, you can still add a touch of holiday flare to your home without forcing your feline friend or canine companion to do something they don't want to do.
Ready to give your neighbors pumpkin to talk about? Below you'll find our pick of the patch, with cat and dog pumpkin carving ideas that will ensure your home is the talk of the town this Halloween.
1. Paw print
Why not try carving a cute paw print onto your lantern? With a simple and bold outline, it can work well as a simple motif on its own or at the back with your pet's face at the front.
2. Full silhouette
A post shared by Marie Connolly (@connollyscreations) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
If you're feeling especially crafty, you could opt to carve a full silhouette. Using a small knife or blade comes in really handy when carving intricate outlines.
3. Carve your favorite breed
4. Kitty and stars
Cats and stars are a classic Hallowe’en motif; this incredible creation by @darcydoll (opens in new tab) will help you get into the swing of the season.
5. Cat o'lantern
You could try using off-cuts of the pumpkin to create the ears and feet of this creative cat o'lantern, designed by LadyFace Blog. (opens in new tab)
6. Halloweiner pumpkin
Using multiple pumpkins can create a fantastic effect, as demonstrated by this clever depiction of Weiner dogs in this creative Reddit post (opens in new tab).
7. Your pet's face
Using different depths of carving when cutting out your pet’s face creates a beautiful effect.
8. Dog bones
A simple yet effective symbol, these dog bones are perfect for pirate pups! Thanks to the crew at Vita Bone, you can also grab yourself a free set of dog pumpkin stencils (opens in new tab) that contain a further three cool designs.
How to carve your pet’s face on a pumpkin
Follow our step-by-step guide to carving your pet’s face on a pumpkin:
1. Choose your pumpkin
When looking for a pumpkin in the store (or at a pick-your-own place), then try to look for ones that have a large, flat(ish) surface area that will accommodate your outline or drawing as best as possible.
2. Remove the pumpkin’s flesh
There’s a couple of ways to do this, depending on your preference. You can slice the top off and scoop the flesh out from the inside, replacing the top afterwards. Or, arguably a better or easier method is to create a sort of “door” at the back of the pumpkin, from which you remove the inside. This will give you easier access to whatever light source you place inside it too.
3. Create your stencil
It’s best if you have a good, clear photo of your pet that you can use to create your stencil. A good tip is to convert it to black and white and ramp up the contrast in software such as Photoshop first, this will make it easier to see the outline when using it as a stencil. Print out the picture at roughly the same size as the surface area of the pumpkin.
4. Transfer the outline
Attach the picture of your pet to the pumpkin’s surface using masking tape. Next, using something sharp like a toothpick or a drawing pin, make dots around the outline of your pet’s face / body so you’ll be able to see where you need to make carvings. If you don’t have a printer, you could try freehand drawing an outline onto the pumpkin using marker pens.
5. Get to carving
Now for the fun part. Using a sharp knife (make sure you supervise kids at this point, or take over for tricky parts) carve the outline of the pet into the pumpkin. You can carve all the way through to the inside, or you can carve a little more shallowly into the flesh to give different intensities of light across the pumpkin.
What kind of pet outlines work well for pumpkin carving?
You can be very creative when it comes to carving pet shapes into pumpkins, but those with bolder or easily definable outlines tend to work best.
In our step-by-step guide you’ll see how it’s done, but essentially, the clearer or simpler the picture, the better. If you don’t have a specific picture of your pet you want to try and emulate, you could instead try creating a more simple or generic outline of your favorite type of animal or breed.
What tools do I need for carving pumpkins?
The good news is that you don’t need extensive tools to get started with carving pumpkins, although you can buy specific kits to help you with the job.
You’ll probably find that you’ve got everything you need at home to carve a pumpkin, but a good variety of knives will come in handy. You’ll also ideally need a printer so you can print out the outline or picture you want to recreate on the pumpkin.
Are pumpkin lanterns safe around pets?
Although pumpkin is perfectly safe for your dog to eat, you should keep your finished lanterns safely out of reach of your pup. The skin is likely to be a bit tough for them, and whether you use electric light or a candle, the actual light source can be dangerous for them to get their inquisitive chops around.
Obviously, a candle can also present a fire hazard so you should make sure wherever you place it is safely out of the way and can’t be knocked over or into something flammable, such as curtains or drapes.
Can my dog eat pumpkin?
Once you've finished carving your pumpkin, you’ll of course be left with lots of the flesh which begs the question 'can dogs eat pumpkin?' You could throw it away, but you’d be missing out on a tasty treat. Not only can you use it in a number of recipes suitable for humans, such as stews and soups, but it’s also a good addition to your dog’s food. In fact, it’s even been known to help soothe an upset tummy when used in fairly limited quantities.
Pumpkin is ideal for freezing, so once you’ve removed the flesh from the pumpkin you’re going to turn into a lantern, you could try chopping it up and freezing it so you’ve always got a couple of cubes ready to pop into your dog’s bowl.
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Amy Davies is a freelance writer and photographer with over 15 years experience. She has a degree in journalism from Cardiff University and has written about a huge variety of topics over the years. These days she mostly specialises in technology and pets, writing across a number of different titles including TechRadar, Stuff, Expert Reviews, T3, Digital Camera World, and of course PetsRadar. She lives in Cardiff with her dog, Lola, a rescue miniature dachshund.
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