It's that magical time of year again. The leaves are changing. The air's getting colder. Pumpkins are everywhere. And that's a good thing if you're a Halloween enthusiast -- because that means more pumpkins for you to carve as you prepare for the creepiest night of the year.
We're only a few weeks away from the most gamer-friendly holiday of the year, and there's no better way to get in the Halloween spirit than turning your favorite video games into awesome jack-o'-lanterns. Pay homage to your favorite fandoms and ward off the restless spirits wandering the earth...it's a win-win!
That's why we've compiled a list of cool designs from some of your favorite game franchises. Each of these pumpkins should be reasonably easy for you to replicate yourself, so we've included stencils for each design to get you started. All you need is a pumpkin, the right tools, and a little bit of patience to bring these carvings to life.
Creeper Face (Minecraft)
Ah, the Creeper -- both the Minecraft mascot and the bane of pretty much every player's existence. Pay your respects to the enemy you love to hate with this simple Creeper carving.
The design is easy enough that even the craftily-challenged can get it done right, but the addition of a candle makes this Creeper look like he's filled with the hellfire of a thousand Nethers.
Be careful, though. It would be a shame if something were to happen to those treatssssssssssssss...
Logo or Character Portraits (Overwatch)
It's no secret that Overwatch is going to be huge this Halloween. So you can join in on the fun by creating your own pumpkin that proudly displays the emblem of your favorite rebellion-squashing group of heroes.
But chances are you can't be satisfied with a mere logo. You want to put your favorite character out there for all the world (and the underworld) to see. Luckily for you, the Free Stencil Gallery has carving patterns for every hero that's currently on the Overwatch roster. Whether Mei is bae or you can't get enough Dad 76, there's a stencil waiting to be carved.
Between the cultural phenomenon that was Pokemon Go and the upcoming release of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Pokemon is basically everywhere. So we would be remiss in our duties if we didn't include some familiar pocket monsters to put on your pumpkin.
We could devote an entire slideshow to the amazing Pokemon pumpkin carvings that fans have made, but most of them aren't projects meant for mere mortals. So for the rest of us, it's hard to go wrong with long-time mascot Pikachu and the adorable Mew. I, however, am rather partial to Gengar carvings like the one below.
The official Pokemon website offers a lot of other free stencils for you to download and use -- especially if you want to recreate some of the creepier Pokemon from other generations. Visit their pumpkin carving page to see them all.
Even before it launched in late September, Cuphead sparked a lot of conversation among gamers everywhere. From its unique and cartoonish aesthetic to one journalist's embarrassingly bad demo run of the game, Cuphead has been one of the most prominent game releases in 2017.
With this pumpkin stencil, you can bring the familiar faces of this run-and-gun action game to life. Whether you choose to carve the eponymous Cuphead or his brother Mugman, trick-or-treaters will know that you're a grizzled veteran who has (mostly) survived the game's punishing boss battles and apparently impossible tutorial level.
If you're lucky, this jack-o-lantern will make sure the devil doesn't win your soul in a casino streak gone bad.
Dragon Logo & Hold Banners (Skyrim)
With Skyrim coming to basically every current-gen console this year, what better way to celebrate than with some awesome Tamriel-inspired pumpkin carvings? You can choose to tout your status as the Dragonborn with the game's iconic logo, or rep your favorite Skyrim Hold with the appropriate banner.
A quick Google search will give you perfect stencils for every Hold emblem in the game. Just keep in mind that if you do decide to carve your hometown flag, you'll want to double-check the stencil and make sure you don't need to invert the design (read: cut out the white parts, not black) to keep your pumpkin intact.
Guardian Logo (Destiny)
If you suit up to be a Guardian in your spare time, then you're definitely going to want to sport some Destiny-themed pumpkins this Halloween -- that is, if you can pull yourself away from the Destiny 2 grind long enough to sit down and carve a jack-o-lantern.
There aren't many stencils floating around for specific character models, but the iconic Destiny logo is simple enough to make the perfect pumpkin carving. Let your Light shine and ward off any roaming alien races on All Hallow's Eve with this pumpkin design -- or celebrate the late release of Destiny 2 on PC!
Silhouette, Solaire, and More (Dark Souls)
In case playing the actual games wasn't a masochistic enough experience for you, there are lots of Dark Souls stencils that you can frustratingly try to replicate on a pumpkin this Halloween. It's the perfect way to remind yourself of what you love most about Dark Souls ahead of the Ashes of Ariandel launch. The carving above is adapted from the actual box art, but we've linked a stencil that is very similar and much easier to execute.
If you want to recreate specific Dark Souls characters, though, there are lots of patterns for that too. This Capra Demon stencil is only recommended for goat-headed carvers with access to demonic machetes. If that's not quite your speed, perhaps a Black Knight pattern will be able to stand up to the burning (candle) fire within.
But our favorite Dark Souls pumpkin depicts the Jolliest of Cooperators, Solaire. Using this stencil, you can quite literally help Solaire become the most grossly incandescent carving around.
Horde or Alliance Emblem (World of Warcraft)
By the time Halloween rolls around, a lot of you will probably still be grinding and raiding your way through the WoW: Legion expansion. Whether your level-capped demon hunter is with the Alliance or the Horde, you can emblazon your sigil into the side of a pumpkin so it burns bright for all to see.
Perhaps you could even create a smaller version of these to carry with you as you cosplay your favorite World of Warcraft characters!
Master Chief (Halo)
You might have donned a Master Chief costume during Halloweens past, but now you can emblazon a pumpkin with the likeness of MCPON John-117. (Because there's nothing quite like a cybernetically enhanced supersoldier to ward off evil spirits, right?)
Whether you're doing a gamertastic couple's costume featuring the Chief and Cortana, or you're simply trying to let the Flood of trick-or-treaters know whose door they're knocking on, this pumpkin carving stencil will recapture the silent, faceless power of the iconic Halo character and bring it to your doorstep.
Companion Cube and Stickman (Portal)
The cake might be a lie, but these carvings are pretty legit. Whether you want to create the iconic Companion Cube or bring life to the misadventures of Stickman, these Portal stencils should do the trick.
But there are lots of other inter-spacial designs you can use to remind ghosts and errant trick-or-treaters to watch where they step, lest they fall through the very fabric of space. Give eager children false hope with a jack-o'-lantern that promises cake. Or check out this two-pumpkin teleporting Stickman design for a great front porch display that can be made even more Portal-tastic with orange and blue LED lights.
Cloud Portrait (Final Fantasy VII)
If you're eagerly awaiting that upcoming Final Fantasy VII remake, this is definitely the pumpkin pattern for you to carve while you wait for Square Enix to give the reboot an actual release date. (On second thought, you'll probably want to carve a few hundred of these to pass the time til then.)
Featuring Cloud's spiky blond hair before the series' characters adopted a more realistic look, this pumpkin carving stencil pays homage to the iconic character design of Tetsuya Nomura. Eerily enough, the design also captures Cloud's intense presence of character -- especially with that thousand-yard stare.
Big Daddy (Bioshock)
Now that the BioShock Collection has released and allowed us to relive the (somewhat glitchy) glory of the sci-fi franchise, we can go back to putting big daddies and little sisters on our pumpkins without feeling behind the times.
Bring a little extra Rapture into your life with this Big Daddy stencil. If you want to go the extra mile and make your carving really feel authentic, you can use LEDs instead of a traditional candle to mimic their mood-indicating helmet lights. Just set them on red when those annoying teenage ghouls come hanging around your door.
It's-A Me! Mario! (Super Mario Bros.)
This list wouldn't count without a timeless classic. No matter how many Halloweens pass, Mario will always be a great go-to pumpkin design. Our favorite Italian plumber is no stranger to ghosts, and he's spent a fair amount of time wandering around haunted mansions -- so he's no stranger to the haunts that might abide on All Hallow's Eve.
If you've got some friends (or just more pumpkins) you can also carve other familiar Mario characters like Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, Boo, and Wario by checking out the full line of stencils available over at Zombie Pumpkins.
Mega Man Portrait
It's been years since we've actually seen a new Mega Man game, but that doesn't mean he isn't still one of the most recognizable characters Capcom ever made. With over 11 main series games and 50+ spinoff games under his belt, this robotic protagonist has definitely earned a place on your porch this Halloween.
Whether you're playing through the recently released Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 or still enjoying some of the original games on Nintendo, PlayStation, and other consoles, this Mega Man portrait will bring some android action to a night filled with ghosts, goblins, and other spooks.
Tri-Force & Link Portrait (Legend of Zelda)
Download The Tri-Force Stencil!
Breath of the Wild might be a few months old now, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a little LoZ goodness this Halloween.
The Triforce is perhaps one of the most iconic symbols in all of gaming. By carving this design, gamers of any kind will instantly recognize your porch as a geek-friendly zone. And you might even attract the ever-elusive (but hotly debated) female Link to your doorstep.
If you're up for a little more of a challenge, you can try carving the face of the beloved protagonist himself. This stencil from Jammin' Pumpkins will result in the awesome Link-o'-lantern pictured below. You'll have to sign up with the site to access it, but there are lots of other great designs available that should make it worth your while for Halloweens to come.
Vault Boy (Fallout)
Although it's been a while since Fallout 4 hit store shelves, it's never to late to revisit the Wasteland and give a big thumbs up to nuclear apocalypse.
The version of Vault Boy pictured above is a bit more complex than the finished version of the linked stencil, mostly because there's a lot of extra shading and pumpkin-shaving involved. But the stencil version of Vault Boy will still have that wonderful, irradiated glow by the time you're done with him.
If you want to rep your favorite Brotherhood, you can do that too. This Brotherhood of Steel stencil will give you the kickass carving pictured below.
Ezio Portrait (Assassin's Creed)
With Assassin's Creed: Origins releasing just a few days before Halloween this year, it's a perfect time to showcase your love for the franchise by carving the likeness of the series' iconic assassins into a pumpkin. (Just don't break your hidden blades doing it.)
The stencil above showcases Ezio -- the Renaissance assassin who appeared in Assassin's Creed II, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, and Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Though you could opt for a design featuring protagonist Desmond Miles, this progenitor of the Assassin line is far more recognizable in his notorious pointed hood. And the Hidden Blade on his wrist really drives the whole design home.
Colossus (Shadow of the Colossus)
The Last Guardian finally released earlier this year to decent critical acclaim. So this Halloween, why not revisit the game that inspired it all: Shadow of the Colossus. This striking stencil outlines an iconic shot from the game.
While there are no "official" (read: pumpkin-specific) stencils to work with for your carving, there are plenty of images you can use just fine. The stencil linked above is probably your best bet, but this variation -- which includes trees and is lacking the horse -- is a great alternative.
Papyrus the Skeleton (Undertale)
Try and recreate the magic of the sleeper hit RPG that took us all by storm. The simple aesthetic of Undertale makes it an ideal game to model some kickass pumpkin carvings after.
This carving of Papyrus nails his toothy grin and anatomically impossible (yet expressive) eyebrows. Perhaps you could finish the job by dressing up in one of the various costumes that he dons throughout the course of the game.
If you want to try something a little more complex, though, you can use this stencil to recreate Flowey -- the kill-or-be-killed antagonist of the game. Keep in mind, though, that this will require some shading as you carve. The center of Flowey's petals cannot be cut out entirely, or you'll lose the facial features. Instead, you'll need to carefully shave this part down so that light shines through, but his expression is still intact.
Marcus Fenix Portrait (Gears of War)
As the first protagonist of the Gears of War series, Marcus Fenix is truly the face of this beloved third-person shooter franchise. And this pumpkin design features his steely gaze and the no-nonsense expression he wears at basically all times. Behind Marcus' intimidating mug glows the eponymous gear that defines the series' aesthetic.
If he can defend all of humanity from the threat of the Locust Horde, then it's a good bet this Marcus Fenix jack-o-lantern can keep your home clear of mischievous ghouls and wayward trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.
Solid Snake (Metal Gear)
What better way to ward off evil spirits than with the bone-chilling stare of Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series? Short of donning your own weapon-armed mecha, we can't think of anything. And this pumpkin carving design is the perfect one to use if you want to capture this hardened veteran for your Halloween display.
Though there are some slightly more complex designs for this character floating around on Imgur, the one above is just easy enough that a relative beginner could execute it -- but detailed enough that it's obvious whose eyes are glowing in your jack-o-lantern. Maybe carving this design will help pass the time while you wait for more information on Hideo Kojima's next masterpiece...
That wraps up our list of the coolest gamer-friendly pumpkin carvings you can do yourself this Halloween! Hopefully you've found some inspiration for your own jack-o'-lanterns as the fateful night draws near.
If you haven't found a costume yet, be sure to check out our video game inspired Halloween costumes, our guides to cosplaying your favorite horror characters, or our collection of last-minute costumes for ideas that you can throw together in no time.
Will you be carving any of these designs this Halloween? Got other video game inspired stencils that are perfect for pumpkin carving? Share your ideas (and any finished photos) in the comments below!