The tradition of pumpkin carving hasn't always had such a lighthearted purpose. According to one Halloween legend, a notoriously mean-spirited blacksmith named Jack was doomed to wander the earth forever, finding his way through the darkness with only a hollowed-out turnip lit with an ember from hell’s furnace. Whether to help guide Jack or to ward him off, people placed their own jack-o'-lanterns in doors and windows. You can use jack-o'-lanterns to safely lead trick-or-treaters straight to the goodies by lining your walkway with illuminated pumpkins. Or arrange clusters of small, carved pumpkins on your holiday table to cast a welcoming light for any visitor.
We've harvested the ideas listed below from our own pumpkin-carving archive. You'll get inspiration for designs, information about essential tools, and invaluable tips and techniques. You can also view two of our favorite television segments: one demonstrating how to create a haunted Halloween village, the other on using pumpkins to carve a glowing, slithering snake.