It’s pumpkin season again, which means pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin candles, and, of course, some pumpkin carving. For an annual activity, it can sometimes be hard to come up with new ideas. You could always default to the classic scary face (it's a perennial hit), but something a little different, like a witch or even her magical cauldron, will ensure what's on your front porch is nothing like what's on your neighbor's. 

By Rebecca Hart and Alexandra Schonfeld

No matter what stencil you decide to use, your annual carving session can't start without a big, orange pumpkin—and the bigger the better, because that means more work space. Whether you cut it off the vine yourself or simply pick it off the shelf at the grocery store, make sure you start with a good one.

To ensure your pumpkin lasts all season, keep it out of direct sunlight and hold off on carving it until the night before Halloween (or whenever you plan to debut your creation).

Though there are plenty of tools for sale (you can buy special kits at grocery or craft stores), you can usually find the right tools for carving around your home—try an ice cream scoop and paring knife. Once you have everything you need, set up a workstation either outside or somewhere you don’t mind getting a little messy. Despite any added protection—a disposable plastic tablecloth or butcher paper, for example—it's never a good idea to use a surface that may stain (like an expensive dining room table). 

And, if you're used to cutting around the pumpkin's stem to remove the "guts," prepare yourself for this mind-blowing tip: Cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin instead—it'll preserve the pristine look of your pumpkin and actually helps extend the life of the gourd. 

Once your pumpkin is prepped and ready to be carved, try one of these designs for a great twist on fall classic.

Witch’s Brew

Witch's Brew Template 

Get the larger, printable version here.

Witch’s Hat

Witch's Hat Template 

Get the larger, printable version here.

Witch’s Magic Wand

Witch's Magic Wand Template 

Get the larger, printable version here.

Witch’s Profile

Witch's Profile Template

Get the larger, printable version here.

Witch’s Shoes

Witch's Shoes Template 

Get the larger, printable version here.

Witch on a Broom

Witch on a Broom Template 

Get the larger, printable version here.

You May Like