9 free, printable pumpkin carving templates for jack-o'-lanterns with a message.

Don't let anyone tell you differently: Pumpkin carving. Is. Awesome.

You take perfectly good fruit, scoop out the innards, and make a disposable organic lantern that lasts three to seven days, depending on your climate. It's borderline magical.

Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.


But you know what's even better? Using pumpkins to spread good.

What better way to spread kindness, empathy, and awareness  than with a few jack-o'-lanterns? (OK, if you've read Upworthy at all, you know there are a few better ways to do those things. But most of them don't end with seasonal fun and roasted pumpkin seeds. So for the purposes of this conversation, pumpkins are the beginning and end of the list.)

To help you out, I've collected nine uplifting and printable carving templates for pumpkin-carvers young and old.

All of them were designed to bring out the best in our friends, our neighbors, and ourselves. Download, print, and use the design that suits you (and your pumpkin) best. Happy carving!

Photo by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.

1. For the carver with a cause...

It's easy. It's quick. And it won't offend your stubborn neighbor who still hasn't peeled the Jeb! sticker off of his car.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

2. For the carver in deep space...

Its been 50 years since Star Trek first aired, but Spock's iconic gesture remains an instantly recognizable sign of support and good wishes for Vulcans and non-Vulcans alike. Plus, unlike the high-five or handshake I originally envisioned for my pumpkin, this is a lot easier to carve.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

3. For the carver fed up with body shaming...

No matter your height, weight, color, or background, you are freaking dazzling. Yes, even you in the Sexy Ken Bone costume. You do you! Nobody does it better.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

4. For the carver who loves compost...

In the year 2010 alone, enough plastic washed offshore to cover every inch of coastline on the planet. So yeah, the Earth could really use your help. If you want to keep our oceans clean and reserve our landfills for real waste, then it's high time we reduce, reuse, and recycle with earnest. This jack-o'-lantern goes great with a small waste bin for candy wrappers.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

5. For the carver longing for civility...

Keep the bored teens and political hotheads off your porch this year with this straightforward pumpkin. If anyone wants to get snippy with you, they don't get Milk Duds. That's just the way things work.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

6. For the carver who wants to get away...

That's no ordinary mountain. This landscape is in honor of the National Parks Service, which celebrated its centennial in August. If your kids liked exploring the neighborhoods for candy, just think of how much fun they'd have exploring Yellowstone. Talk about a treat.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

7. For the carver who knows something scary when they see it...

Why carve a vampire or ghost when you can carve something truly spooky, like an incandescent light bulb? They're wasteful, energy inefficient, and the target of bans and phase-outs around the world. You know what's not banned around the world? Zombies. Not sure why they get all the spooky TV shows.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

8. For the carver with a furry friend...

Let's give it up for furry friends, especially the ones still waiting for their forever homes. More than 7.6 million animals enter shelters each year. They have so much love to give, they'll even settle for dog and cat parents who insist on dressing them up.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

9. For the carver with their loyalties in the right place...

Keep your candidates. No election is coming between me and Team Kindness.

Image by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

Whether you're carving a face, a character, or one of these designs, 'tis the season for having fun.

All of us deal with plenty of real-life terrifying stuff (especially during this election year). So this week, take a break and celebrate a Halloween with a few more treats than tricks and maybe a fun scare or two.

You've definitely earned it.

Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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