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You don’t need to be a natural-born artist to carve amazing Halloween pumpkins! Here are 10 geeky video game pumpkin stencils and instructions on how to carve them like an expert.

How to carve a pumpkin

Step 1: Gut your pumpkin and collect your supplies

The most beautiful pumpkin carving photos in the world were snapped by the talented Rudy Lopez Photography.

Make sure you have:

  • One cleaned-out pumpkin
  • One sharp knife (a serrated edge works great)
  • One small, fine knife (I used an X-Acto)
  • A tool that can poke small, round holes (I used a sewing thread cutter)
  • A sheet of newspaper
  • Your printed stencil (stencils below!)
  • Flour
  • Packing tape

  • Step 2: Tape the stencil to the pumpkin

    This part is a little awkward, but stick (ha!) with me here.

    Start by taping the top of the stencil to the pumpkin. Now’s a good time to double-check that it’s on straight. Do your best to get the stencil as flat as possible – or if not flat, that you fold the edge of the lines to fit the pumpkin so the lines “connect.” (This won’t be perfect, and that’s OK.)

    Step 3: Punch holes around the stencil

    Grab your little hole punching device and carefully make perforations along all the lines in the stencil. This will be your guide and will help you make clean cuts the first time.

    The closer together your punched holes are, the easier it will be later!

    Step 4: Peel off the stencil

    Carefully remove your stencil. The holes should be slightly visible, like this:

    But if you can’t see them perfectly, the next step will fix this.

    Step 5: Cover your stencil perforations in flour

    Time to make a mess! Put your pumpkin on top of newspaper, grab a handful of flour, tilt your pumpkin back, and generously rub the flour over the stencil perforations.

    Dust off the excess flour. Now you’ll see a white dotted line for cutting.

    Step 6: Carve away!

    Carefully saw your large knife along the large parts of the stencil. No worries if you veer off the path – you won’t be able to see askew carved lines in the final product.

    Now grab your smaller knife and trim out the finer details of the stencil. This requires patience and a gentle hand.

    Carefully pop out the stencil cuts, pushing from the inside of the pumpkin.

    Step 7: Clean up the messy areas

    Think about how the inside light will hit the carved-out area – sometimes the pumpkin meat around the edges will obscure the light.

    Trim out the inside areas so the light comes through clear.

    Step 8: Give the pumpkin a final wipe-down with a damp cloth and light it up

    Candles are the good old standby, but LED lights are even better. They last a long time and can come in a variety of colors.

    Now impress trick-or-treaters / your kids / your cat with your geeky talent!

    Geeky Video Game Pumpkin Stencils

    Just like games, there’s a pumpkin stencil here for every skill level. The easier stencils are blockier with less detail, the challenging ones have lots of fine detail.

    To print your stencil:

  • Click on the stencil you want to print
  • You’re taken to another page – click on the image again
  • The next page should only have one image on it. Right click on the image and click “Print” from the drop-down menu.
  • Set up the page to “landscape” or “portrait” orientation to best fit the stencil. Click “Print”.


    Legend of Zelda Shield Stencil

    The immortal seal of Hyrule emblazoned on Link’s shield.
    Zelda Shield Stencil

    Storm Trooper Stencil

    This IS the stencil you’re looking for. (Make sure you have a small knife for this one – lots of detail.)
    Storm Trooper Stencil

    Rubik’s Cube Stencil

    OK, this isn’t a video game per se, but it IS the classic game! Caution: cut out each square along the edge of white, not down the center of the black lines. (Or else you’ll have an empty cube and confused trick-or-treaters.)
    Rubik's Cube Stencil

    Princess Peach Stencil

    I’m particularly proud of this one! She was tough to get right but she came out beautiful. You should be able to get these details without losing an eyeball. (HER eyeball, that is.)
    Princess Peach Stencil

    Portal Cake Stencil

    The pumpkin spice cake is a lie. Note: cut out the actual lines around the cake (or else you’re just cutting out a big hole in your pumpkin, similar to the Rubik’s Cube example). Cut on the edge of the white down the outside cake lines instead of directly down the black line itself.
    Portal Cake Stencil

    Pacman Ghost Stencil

    For the retro gamer who prefers a Halloween theme.
    Pacman Ghost Stencil

    Mario 1up Mushroom Stencil

    … or an Embiggen Mushroom. The lack of color makes it tough to tell. Either way, you’re a winner! Note: Careful with the eyes on this one. They’re small and tricky.
    Mario Mushroom 1up Stencil

    Fairway Gopher Stencil

    Gutsy McDivot, the tricky gopher from Big Fish Games’s addictive Fairway, was too cute to pass up. Careful carving around the nose – you might need to get creative to keep the pumpkin parts attached, such as bypassing the whiskers.
    Gopher Stencil

    Minecraft Creeper Stencil

    Careful where you leave this guy – he just might destroy your house in the night. The easiest stencil of the bunch. (Great for kids, and adults with short attention spans.)
    Minecraft Creeper Stencil

    Felix T. Fish Stencil

    Show your Big Fish pride! Keep your fine knife on hand for this one.
    Big Fish Games Stencil

    Please share your pumpkin creations with me – I’m excited to see them come to life! Which stencils would you like to see next time?

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