The Pumpkin Lady® (Lisa Berberette) has spent the past 13 years carving pumpkins “for the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart, and had the honor of being an expert judge for the Food Network’s Extreme Pumpkin Challenge.” She’s also “carved pumpkins on a chilly October morn in Times Square for Good Morning America and spent hot days under studio lights for the Home Shopping Network.”

But what we love about her is that on her website she offers FREE patterns that change EVERY WEEK from now through Halloween! Plus, she offers hundreds of exciting and creative patterns for just $1.49 each (or less if you buy lots of them).

The Pumpkin Lady’s website also offers free “how-to” videos and links to other interesting sites, including her blog and her Etsy shop. Pay her a visit and be inspired!

Thanks to Carolyn at Wichita on the Cheap for introducing us to The Pumpkin Lady,

Here’s another fun paper craft project for Halloween — and according to its creator, Rob Ives, it’s “specially designed to be made without using a sharp knife so it can be made by people of all ages.”

If you’d like to make this Pop Up Pumpkin, visit Rob’s website and download the pattern. You’ll find the download near the bottom of the page — after the helpful, illustrated tutorial.

The download is free, but you may want to treat Ives by making a small donation.

Illustrator Brian Gubicza has some “free stuff” on his website, including four Halloween masks and a set of paper craft figures called “Fold & Spooky II (A Tribute to the films of John Carpenter). The three characters in this set are Blake, Myers, and Lo Pan.

Both the masks and paper craft figures are available for download as PDFs. Print them on heavy stock paper for best results.

Zombie Mask © Ray O'Bannon

Zombie Mask © Ray O'Bannon

Ray O’Bannon’s wonderfully creepy RavensBlight Toy Shop has all sorts of free “haunted” paper toys online for you to print out, construct and enjoy.

Here’s what O’Bannon has to say about his unusual paper craft collection:

“The toys include a hearse playset, coffin gift boxes (with occupants), a little cemetery, several unusual board games, a gloomy little haunted house, a rusty old-style robot, and quite a few other dark delights. So pick out some toys, print out the pattern pages, and with a few common supplies like scissors and glue you’re ready to create all these strange little curiosities. I hope you’ll enjoy them all.”

These “haunted” paper toys are great for Halloween and relatively cheap to make. All you need is Adobe Acrobat to download the PDF patterns, a printer, HEAVY card stock, some scissors, some Elmer’s glue sticks, and a bit of patience and attention to detail.

Izzy the Intern is always wary about telling children to use scissors and wants to be certain they do so only under parental supervision. O’Bannon seems to be in totally agreement. Here’s what he has to say on the subject:

“I’ve found Elmer’s Glue Sticks to be very useful in building these toys. Also, you can be extra fussy and carefully blacken the edges of the toy parts with a black marker to get rid of the occasional white edges here and there. When folding the parts, its critical to fold them as precisely on the lines as possible. And above all, never rush it! These toys won’t take very long for you to build, but working slowly and carefully is important. And a final word about using the scissors and X-acto knife…They are SHARP! They can HURT YOU! So always be carefull. Open bleeding lacerations = BAD! Happy little monster kids with new toys = GOOD!”

Chihuahua stencil for pumpkin carving by Diane Starkey

Chihuahua stencil for pumpkin carving by Diane Starkey

Halloween is on the way and Madison on the Cheap hopes to be able to tell you about lots of monstrously good deals.

Now that pumpkins are available, perhaps you should think about really doing some fancy carving this year. But before you buy stencils, take a look at the Better Homes & Gardens website, where the magazine is offering 36 printable pumpkin stencils for free. Among the stencils are more than a dozen that let you carve a pumpkin to resemble your favorite breed of dog. Choices include Chihuahuas, Beagles, Boxers, and Pugs.

We learned about this offer from Deb Stanley at Channel 7 News in Denver, and we’d like to share her insights about the offer:

“What’s the catch? You have to register for the Web site. The registration form comes up when you click on the stencil you want to print. Look carefully at all the checked and unchecked boxes, I didn’t want any of BHG’s newsletters, just the free stencils. Also, when the Web site offers you a free year of the magazine, read carefully. It’s actually offering you a free year, if you buy a year. I said no.”

The dog stencils are HERE. Stencils for more traditional themes, including bats, spiders, and witches, are HERE.