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Carve your own cat-o’-lantern

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

Halloween Cat o Lantern

Lions and tigers and pumpkins, oh my!

Trick or treat - Cause and uproar

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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