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Entirely Unique Jack-O-Lanterns, Pumpkin Carving Ideas and Patterns

The Devil's pet rat, Buster!

The Devil's pet rat, Buster!

Put the Devil's face on your next pumpkin.

Put the Devil's face on your next pumpkin.

So I was walking in my local mall the other day, and I noticed some stores were already setting up for Halloween. Columbia's local Hallmark store had scarecrows and stuffed pumpkins, with silly faces displayed in their front window, propped up on Halloween wrapped boxes. It immediately put me into the Halloween spirit.

When I was a little girl, I was actually too shy to go trick or treating. I was always afraid to go up to a stranger's front door. Not only that, but I was also worried about someone laughing at my homemade costume. Anyhow, as I got older I really started to embrace the spirit of Halloween. I enjoy going to costume parties, bobbing for apples, and participating in other ghoulish surprises.

When I finally had my son Zachary, my husband and I took on Halloween with full force. We loved buying costumes for the whole family to wear, and decorating the house in glow-n-dark cobwebs, skeletons, and flying spiders. Slowly over time, our small box of decorations turn into to two boxes, and now....., well lets just say we have several boxes to store each year.

When I first saw Tim Burton's,"The Nightmare Before Christmas," I immediately feel in love with the clay animation. Tim's keen artistic talent, really shined through his ghoulish figures. Needless to say, I started collecting figurines much like his, to create my own "spooky village." To date I have a spooky swamp, a water tower, several haunted trees with lights, a haunted swing set & owl house, and a magnificent haunted mansion.

With each new year my family attends the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival. Hartsburg, Missouri is an extremely tiny town on the Missouri river, outside Columbia, Missouri. Each fall they have a huge pumpkin festival to sell their homegrown pumpkins, homemade apple cider, and other fall merchandise. The festival itself drawns in thousands of people into a town with less than a hundred citizens.

For the past three years, my family and I have made the affair into a family outing spent with my grandchildren, and each year we all get to pick one pumpkin out of the whole lot, in order to save and carve at a later date. At the end of the day, we take our pumpkins home, wash them off and get them ready to be carved. When it is finally time to crave our pumpkins, it too is a family event. Everyone sits on our home computers, and proceeds to picks out their favorite pumpkin designs. Well last year, my pumpkin design was the face of Jack, the pumpkin man in Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas movie. However, this year my featured favorite is the first one pictured named, "It's hot in here...." I can hardly wait for the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival to begin. Be safe this Halloween, and remember the children running in and out the streets this season.

It's hot in here! This year's personal fav.  As seen on (click the link below)

It's hot in here! This year's personal fav. As seen on (click the link below)

Mom'ma feed me!

Mom'ma feed me!

Hell-O Jack!, my personal fav.  This was my pumpkin design for last year.

Hell-O Jack!, my personal fav. This was my pumpkin design for last year.

Hell's Ghoulish Quartet

Hell's Ghoulish Quartet

Ghastly Ghost from Hell

Ghastly Ghost from Hell

Disney's Family Fun Pumpkin Carving Template

The Scarecrow on Hades Street

The Scarecrow on Hades Street


Directions from Family page 2 of 2

Step 1: There are two ways to transfer your design onto the pumpkin. One is to copy it freehand onto a clean, dry pumpkin with a water-based marker (mistakes can be easily corrected with a paper towel). The other is to tape your pattern or template to the pumpkin, then score the design into the skin by poking holes through the pattern with a nail or plastic poking tool (available in some pumpkin-carving kits).

Step 2: The black portion of the image is the part of the pumpkin that you’ll be cutting out and removing. Carve by starting at the center of your design and working outward (this avoids putting pressure on areas already carved). Begin with the innermost and smallest. As each shape loosens up, gently push it out of the pumpkin with a finger or a dull pencil point (a good job for small kids). Larger shapes, such as gap-toothed grins, may have to be removed in pieces.

Tip: If you cut something you didn't intend to, perform an ad hoc pumpkin surgery: Stick a toothpick through the flesh side of the piece and fit it back into place.

Step 3: You can create dramatic effects by letting candlelight through the pumpkin in varying intensity. For a shaded effect, don't cut all the way through the pumpkin. Instead, make a shallow, angled (or V-shaped) cut (1/8 to 1/2 inch, depending on the thickness of the pumpkin wall), then peel away the outer flesh with a knife tip, spoon or vegetable peeler. You also can use deep, angled cuts to remove larger pieces, so that the light reflects off the walls of the hole. Lastly, put your jack-o'-lantern in a place of honor (away from flammables) and remember to blow out all candles before you go to sleep.

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Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on October 22, 2011:

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It's pumpkin carving time! Check out my newborn devil pumpkin idea!!

Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on October 31, 2010:

Happy Trick or Treat!

Literature Fairy on October 10, 2010:

These are sooo cool! I'm getting more ans more excited about Halloween by the minute, and you've definitely given me some great ideas! I especially like The Devil's pet rat Buster! Where could I get a template for that one? :P

Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on September 14, 2010:

I agree. Thanks for leaving a comment for Bob. He'll greatly appreciate that.

ryokowaren from USA on September 13, 2010:

@No body : I'm Christian and always celebrate Halloween. The real meaning of Halloween has evolved over many years, so I think it's safe to say that Halloween (in general and for most of the population) is no longer a Pagan holiday. I'm sure Pagans still celebrate Halloween in their old fashion ways, but for everyone else its just harmless fun. It's what you make it. Those Christians giving you a hard time need to lighten up.

Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on August 25, 2010:

It's carving not craving.......duh!

Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on August 21, 2010:


What's News on August 21, 2010:

The detail people pay close attention to when carving a pumpkin always makes for one of the best Jack-o'-lanterns. Cool photos great hub.

Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on August 19, 2010:

That is wonderful that you turn something negative for you, and made into something positive. Good for you Bob. Thanks Bob for commenting.

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on August 19, 2010:

When I was a kid, of course, I was a Jehovah's Witness. We Witnesses, at that time and I see that they still are, were very afraid of Satan and his control over their minds. He was more fearsome than God was mighty to save. Anyway, Halloween had been a sticker in my mind for years and years. Then I went and got married on October 31, 1998 and everything changed. I found stuff about halloween that were "safe" for me. I still get people, Christians and otherwise that give me h, e, double toothpicks for even embracing some of the fun. I don't honor Satan. I use it as a witnessing tool. Kids at church go and give tracks as an exchange gift for candy and the people are happy to see the smiling faces that are so glad to get the candy and are there because they love them and want them to know Jesus. Your hub was great and smile once for my wonderful wife and me sometime when you are bobbing for apples or going to some costume party to dance the night away. We will probably be making faces at one another and giving each other candy, one piece at a time. Love ya Julie.

Julie Grimes (author) from Columbia, MO USA on August 18, 2010:

Thanks Frankie and Rob- I had fun writing this. You are right Frankie- the Satanic infant is definitely WICKED! My son loves it. It is his pick for this years jack O'Lantern for Halloween.

Frankie on August 18, 2010:

The devil baby is wicked. Nice.

Rob from Oviedo, FL on August 18, 2010:

Great stuff. I never carved everything like that. Halloween is my favorite holiday.

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