Kids' Krafts: Trick-or-treaters may howl when they see this pumpkin carved into a dog's face. Here's a Web link to free stencils for dogs, funny faces and other stencils.

The origin of the Halloween jack-o’-lantern stems from Ireland where people once carved out turnips and potatoes and placed candles inside for protection on All Hallow’s Eve. The idea was to keep ghosts, that were said to return to earth to walk the streets, from playing tricks on the living.

When Irish people immigrated to America, they brought along the tradition. They found that carved pumpkins could replace turnips and potatoes.

Since then, a new trend in jack-o’-lantern carving has developed in the craft industry. Today, stencils, specialized cutting tools and online sources are available to help you bring out the “soul” hidden inside every pumpkin-turned jack-o’-lantern.

Rather than the usual jack-o’-lantern face, I made a Jack Russell terrier face on my pumpkin this year to honor my favorite breed of dog.

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Better Homes and Gardens online magazine provides free stencils. See the stencils of dogs at More pumpkin ideas, stencils and carving tips can be found at

Additionally, you can purchase special tools to make it more safe to carve the stencil into your pumpkin when you are creating your own jack-o’-lantern masterpiece.

Younger children will need assistance from an adult to make this craft.





Push pins

Cutting tools


Depending on the size of your pumpkin, use a photocopier to enlarge or reduce the size of the stencil you’ve chosen. Make sure the pumpkin has at least one fairly flat side for carving.

Cut the top of the pumpkin off and save for the lid. Make the opening large to remove the seeds and pulp inside by scraping it away. Discard. Wash and dry the pumpkin.

Fold the paper into pleats and tape wherever necessary to make the stencil lay flat when taped to the pumpkin.

Use a push pin to make closely-spaced pin pricks along the stencil lines, piercing the paper. With the help on an adult, use the pumpkin carving tools to carve out your design.

Cut completely through solid lines and peel away the skin (known as etching) along the dotted lines to enhance the features. You may want to etch before you carve to avoid breakage.

If you have a craft idea or question, contact Kathy Antoniotti at