It's the spookiest season of the year, and that means it's time to participate in the most beloved autumn traditions: carving a jack-o'-lantern! However, gone are the days when you could cut a couple of triangle-shaped holes in your gourd and call it quits. Thanks in part to the inspiration provided by TV shows like Halloween Wars, people are devoting more time, energy and creativity to their pumpkin carving than ever before.
In order to create your monstrous masterpiece, you need special tools. Take a look at our roundup of the best buys to take your carving to the next level. Working with kids? No worries! There are plenty of safe, easy alternatives like stickers and paint to make your pumpkin every bit as scary as their carved counterparts.
This 6-piece professional pumpkin carving kit serves you well for many Halloweens to come. Sturdy plastic handles and high-quality, heavy-duty stainless steel blades make these saws, knives, poking tools and scraper a smart investment. Best of all, everything fits neatly into a zippered carrying case, so you'll never have to rummage through the junk drawer looking for the pumpkin knife again.
Ready to up your pumpkin game? If you want to attempt a design that’s a bit more sophisticated than your average two-eyes-triangle-nose-and-toothy-smile composition, you’ll need a set of etchers and scrapers. These allow would-be pumpkin Picassos to achieve a more nuanced look with their artistry than simply cutting chunks and removing them.
Anyone who's ever carved a jack-o-lantern with a paring knife knows that it can be surprisingly hard to cut out even a simple triangle, let alone something complicated like teeth. That's where these handy tools come in. Similar to cookie cutters but strong enough to punch through a pumpkin (with a little help from a rubber mallet), these 31 different shapes make it easy to create any look you need.
For those of us who can barely draw a stick figure, the actual carving isn’t the issue; the hard part is sketching out the design. Stencils are an easy way to create a jack-o-lantern, even if you don’t have an artistic bone in your body. Choose from 12 iconic Halloween images, including Dracula, the Headless Horseman and a tarantula.
Even the littlest ghouls and goblins in your family can now join in the fun of decorating pumpkins. This sticker pack is also perfect for classrooms, Grandma’s house or any place else where a mess of pumpkin pulp, seeds and strings would be unwelcome. You get 26 stickers in two different sizes, for making both large and small jack-o-lanterns.
Be the talk of your neighborhood with this flashy glow-in-the-dark paint. Go crazy with 12 different vivid, phosphorescent colors, each one guaranteed to glow for hours. Best of all, these paints are non-toxic, so you can even use them as body paint for the big night.
If you've got the tools, you've tried all the stencils and you've pushed the limits of your creativity, it's time to learn from the master. Award-winning pumpkin carver Lundy Cupp shares easy-to-follow instructions for 3D techniques, as well as two step-by-step projects to help you create pumpkins with pizzazz.
As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.