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Carve your own cat-o'-lantern

Erica Tiffany is a graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. She received her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in digital media. She has now joined the SheK...

These pumpkins are the cat's pajamas!

Halloween has never been this furry! Help save big cats in the wild with these six fun kitty carving templates from National Geographic.

These pumpkins are the cat's pajamas!

Lions and tigers and pumpkins, oh my!

These pumpkins are the cat's pajamas!

A roaring tiger or a well-groomed leopard? It's your choice with these adorable pumpkin carving templates. Children love animals, so they'll enjoy helping make a difference by collecting change that will be donated directly to National Geographic's Big Cat Initiative, a program that funds research and solutions that can help save these animals from extinction.

Just pick up a free trick-or-treat collection box at your local Pottery Barn or order one at and set it next to your pumpkin so trick-or-treaters can toss in small change donations in exchange for scrumptious candy. This is a fun opportunity to spend quality time with your kids and teach them about these magnificent creatures.

Below are simple instructions on how to make your own cat-o'-lantern.

What you'll need:

  • 1 pumpkin (medium to large in size)
  • Newspapers
  • Large metal spoon
  • Paring knife
  • Permanent marker
  • Candle
  • Matches


  1. Lay out newspapers to keep your work surface clean.
  2. Using a permanent marker, draw a large circle around the top of the pumpkin's stem and draw a big cat face on the front using one of the cat-o'-lantern illustrations as a guide.
  3. Cut a hole big enough around the pumpkin stem so that you can easily clean out the pumpkin. Save the piece you cut out to use as a lid.
  4. Clean and scrape out the inside of the pumpkin with your spoon. The pumpkin wall should be no more than 1 inch thick.
  5. Trace or copy your favorite design onto your pumpkin. Carve your cat-o'-lantern's face.
  6. Light a candle inside the pumpkin, then close the lid. Quickly put out the flame and look for the blackened spot inside the lid. Cut a small hole there; it will let the smoke and heat escape while a candle glows inside.
  7. Put your cat-o'-lantern in a safe spot on your doorstep or windowsill next to your donation box to show your support for trick-or-treat for big cats this Halloween!

More pumpkin carving templates & tips

5 Silly pumpkin carving templates
How to carve a pumpkin
Pumpkin carving template gallery

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