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Vile-Varmint Pumpkins

Assemble a tableau straight out of a spooky movie. The witch's latest shipment of animals seems to have escaped their crates, and now they're inhabiting these ghostly green pumpkins. Slashing -- oops, carving -- the huge squashes is a cinch, thanks to serpent and toad templates (scrape out the flesh around the patterns). Set the pumpkins on the crates, and then keep your distance.

Source: Martha Stewart


  • Pumpkin

  • Keyhole saw or a serrated knife

  • Fleshing tool

  • Masking tape

  • Awl or a large pin

  • Linoleum cutter with a No. 2 blade

  • Wide-blade (No. 5) linoleum cutter

  • Wood gouge

  • For lighting the pumpkin: white string lights and a glass jar, or use battery-operated lights or small flashlights


  1. Cut a large hole in the bottom of the pumpkin with a keyhole saw or a serrated knife.

  2. Scrape out the pumpkin seeds with a fleshing tool. Download the desired template (snake, frog, or diamond snake), and size it to fit on the pumpkin; print out. Affix it to the pumpkin with masking tape (you may need to cut the snake templates into sections to fit the pumpkin).

  3. Transfer the template with an awl or a large pin, making pinpricks along the lines.

  4. Using the pinpricks as a guide, use a linoleum cutter with a No. 2 blade to carve the design, scraping into the pumpkin's rind to reveal the flesh, but not cutting all the way through. After completing the outline, remove rind surrounding the toad with a wide-blade (No. 5) linoleum cutter and a wood gouge for larger areas.

  5. To light the pumpkin, wrap white string lights around a glass jar. For safety, ensure that lights don't touch cords or one another by wrapping strands evenly around a small glass or jar and securing wires to glass with tape. Insert glass through a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin to light. Unplug lights before leaving the house or going to sleep.

    Tip: As an alternative to electric lights, try battery-powered candles.

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