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Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas That Trump the Plain Ol' Jack-o'-Lantern

Not all pumpkins are doomed to have the same gap-toothed grins. This Halloween, let's carve outside the box. Think elegant etchings, spooky silhouettes, and geometric cutouts.

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Photography by: Antoine Bootz

Etched to Look Eerie

Do you hear the beating of the telltale heart? Any bibliophile will swoon over this spine-tingling tablescape: It's set aglow with luminous pumpkins, each one etched with an image evocative of Edgar Allan Poe and his tales of terror. To render these glowing silhouettes, we used linoleum cutters and wood gouges to gently etch the surface of the pumpkins. Etching a pumpkin thins the flesh of the walls, allowing light to shine through. The more you pare away the skin, the brighter the design will glow. If these Victorian visages are a little too gloomy for you, try other templates including a faux bois design, a checkerboard pattern of crows and skulls, or the crawling vines and ginkgo leaves on this autumnal centerpiece.

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Hole Punching That Is Hauntingly Beautiful

No, it's not a lantern -- it's an illuminated Lumina! The intricate diamond-shaped pattern on these pale Lumina pumpkins were carved freehand to mimic the lacelike openwork of 18th-century pierced creamware dishes. Instead of the traditional way of cutting open a pumpkin, you cut open and scoop out the flesh from the bottom! Then, masking tape is placed around the circumference of the gourd as a guideline to begin carving. You can use a candle, or you can always try our preferred lighting technique: wrapping a string of lights around a jar and placing it inside the pumpkin.

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Photography by: Anna Williams

Drill a Delicate Design

Freehand carving can become tiresome, especially when working with a tiny, intricate design. Instead, use a drill! In this display, we gathered a group of pumpkins in various shapes, sizes, and shades of color. For each pumpkin, tiny holes were drilled into the surface using a 1/4-inch bit. To illuminate them, a string of tiny white lights was inserted through the bottom opening with one bulb placed in each drilled hole so it protrudes slightly. This created a collection of star-studded globes, which transition perfectly from Halloween to late fall.

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