Traditional recipes

12 Unique Alternatives to Carved Pumpkins Slideshow

12 Unique Alternatives to Carved Pumpkins Slideshow

4. Carved Watermelon

Pumpkins might be the most common food to carve at Halloween, but they are not the only option — try a watermelon. Scoop out the flesh inside (eat it!) and carve it like a jack-o’-lantern, inspired by the designs of artist Jay Ball. For those more advanced, take a cue from the Thai food-carving art Kae-sa-lak and instead sculpt a flower or face onto the front of the melon.

5. Butternut Skull

When set upside down, a butternut squash makes the perfect medium for a carved creature resembling a Scream mask. Set the squash on a wooden stake and place it in the front yard to scare trick-or-treaters when they come to visit.

6. Flat-Sided Squash

Rolling the pumpkin when it's growing on the vine is essential to ensure that the squash grows round. Yet, it's not uncommon to find one flattened on one side, like this one here (left). With a natural countenance (the stem for a nose), it's my favorite kind of pumpkin to carve, with a toothy grin for something extraordinarily creepy.

7. Bow-Bedecked Pumpkin

Another no-carve, crafty way to decorate pumpkins without pulling out the paintbrush is to use ribbons and ric-rac to create colorful designs that will stand out amongst the rest.

8. Turnip Faces

Long before pumpkins were used to create jack-o’-lanterns, those living in Ireland and Scotland in the mid-19th century instead carved menacing faces out of local vegetables like turnips or rutabagas (also known as swedes). Just be sure to use a small carving knife — no kitchen knives — and lots of care when trying this at home.

10. Jack-O’-Pepper

Squash and melons aside, vegetables like bell peppers are perfect for carving, too. Carve faces out of six different peppers, line them up on the mantel, and then place a tea light inside of each for an unusual display for a Halloween party.

12. Ghost Pumpkin

When decorating the house for Halloween, don't stop at just orange squash varietals. Choose gray-black Hubbard squashes for carving witch-like countenances, and white pumpkins, like these Luminas (left), to create ghosts. Place the pumpkin on a table or pole, and cover it with cheesecloth. Use a black Sharpie to draw a ghostly scowl.

1. Chalkboard-Painted Pumpkin

Allison Beck

If you’re decorating pumpkins with young kids and don’t want sharp knives in the small hands — or are terrified of wielding one yourself — all hopes of beating out your neighbors with a cooler creation are not lost. Pull out your paintbrush and a pot of chalkboard paint! Once your squash dries (it takes about three days), use colorful chalk to make funny faces that can change with your mood.

2. Stocking-Covered Pumpkin

Allison Beck

Short on time? Pick up a couple of packages of crazy-patterned tights, or old fishnets, and dress up that orange orb in less than a minute.

3. Glittered Pumpkin

Sparkling and stunning, what is not to love about a glittered pumpkin? With some Elmer’s craft glue, and fine glitter (or glitter spray), it’s easy to make your own at home in an afternoon. Smaller pumpkins, usually less than 12 inches in diameter, work best.

11. Salt Dough Pumpkin

Don’t live near a pumpkin patch? Instead of picking your own, bake your own! Start with a simple salt dough recipe, and use a knife or toothpick for scoring. Once they’re baked and cool, paint and decorate the pumpkins for a kid-friendly craft that can then be used to decorate a table or mantel.

9. Porcupine Pumpkin

When lighting up a Halloween pumpkin, candles and LED lights aren’t the only option. Carve as much of the flesh as possible from the pumpkin, then use a ¼-inch awl to poke dots out of the sides. Then bring out the Christmas lights and stick one bulb into each hole for a spiky alternative to a traditional jack-o'-lantern.

5 pumpkin cooking ideas to help you minimise food waste this Halloween

Whether used for carving ghoulish faces or cooking sumptuous meals, pumpkins are a popular October tradition. But, sadly, their environmental impact hits scary heights each Halloween.

According to statistics from Unilever, the UK bins 18,000 tonnes of pumpkins (eight million) every Halloween, with over half only being used for carving. Similarly, charity Hubbub found that around 40% of consumers buy pumpkins to simply carve out lanterns, but 60% of those purchased are thrown away afterwards.

While many of them are predominantly purchased for carving, the seasonal squash is perfect for cooking at this time of year. Not sure what to make? Food waste expert and co-founder of ODDBOX, Emilie Vanpoperinghe, has provided a step-by-step guide on how to eat the whole pumpkin from skin to seed to minimise food waste.

Take a look at what you can do with each part of the pumpkin to avoid wasting it.

OK, so technically, this isn’t “cooking” with pumpkin, but when you sip this pumpkin pie smoothie, you won’t care! This shake has a full serving of pumpkin and tons of fiber to keep you satisfied for hours.

Pro tip: Don’t have Shakeology yet? Click here to get it now.

Maybe it's Babar, maybe Shep from 'George of the Jungle,' whichever it is, the carving is amazing, the trunk and tusks are very realistic.

Individual feathers make this owl carving distinct and complex.


Bone shaker: Morrisons dancing skeleton is £10.

Fake flickers: Choose safety first with Sainsbury’s flameless pumpkin candle, 50p.

Roar-some: Morrisons T-Rex skeleton is Halloween dino-mite, £8.

Cracking good fun: John Lewis and Waitrose large Halloween crackers, £4 for six, will make fright night go with a bang.

Spook-tacular: Rattle some bones with Sainsbury’s floating ghost, £8.

Terrifying tables: Serve spooky snacks on Asda’s Happy Halloween plates, £1 each.

Creepy-crawlies: Wilko’s gigantic hairy spider, £5, is frightful.

Door deco: Show your street you mean business with Wilko’s skeleton door cover, £1.

Blood-thirsty: Drink up from Tesco’s iridescent skull goblet, £2.

Cross the line: Mark out your territory with Spooky Tape, £2, from John Lewis and Waitrose.

Paint your pumpkin

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

By not hollowing out the gourd, your pumpkin will be able to stick around for much longer than a traditionally carved one— and there’s no restriction on imagination or creativity here, either. You can even use glow-in-the-dark paint to make sure your doorstep still has that after-hours spooky glow. Another bonus to this no-carve strategy: It’s way easier and safer for younger kids to help in the decorating when no sharp utensils are involved.

60+ Genius Pumpkin Carving Ideas for Halloween

Nothing says &ldquoHappy Halloween&rdquo like a collection of carved pumpkins, arranged ever so perfectly on a porch or windowsill. And this year, with Halloween festivities being limited due to COVID-19, pumpkin carving is one of the few activities that has earned the Centers for Disease Control's approval. So why not go all out with your pumpkin carving ideas? After all, if you can only do one Halloween activity, you might as well give it 100 percent.

From goofy faces to glamorous witches, these pumpkin carving ideas will take your Halloween decoration game to another level. And no, you don&rsquot have to be a master of the carving kit to bring these ideas to life. Some are easy as carving holes into your pumpkin. So gather your gear, your gourds, and your quaranteam, and settle in for a fall-filled day.

Note: This year, Halloween safety is more important than ever. Make sure to read the2020 trick-or-treating guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A clever mix of sunflower seeds, pinecone petals, dried leaves, and artificial flowers and foliage makes this pumpkins a natural wonder.

What You'll Need: Pinecone petals ($28 for 16 cones, Amazon) dried leaves ($7, Amazon) fake flowers ($13 for 60, Amazon)

Lay a pumpkin on its side with the stem facing you and carve out a hole where it sits. Hollow out the pumpkin, leaving 11/2"-thick walls. Trace a double-walled spiral, with 1" to 11/2" between rings, before carving. Cut the bottom off a butternut squash so it sits flat and insert pipe cleaners with Ping-Pong-ball eyes into squash.

What You'll Need: Pipe cleaners ($12 for 350, Amazon) Ping-Pong balls ($10 for 60, Amazon) googly eyes ($6, Amazon)

Trace your face design and carve. Cut 1" circles out of discarded pumpkin (these are its eyeballs) and shave around the edges, then attach with pins.

This is a mash-up of two medium-large pumpkins and two small gourds (for eyes). Once you&rsquove cut, carved, and stacked pieces, &ldquostitch&rdquo Frank up by poking holes in the top parts and inserting 2" pieces of wire.

Are they shocked, surprised, or terrified? You decide with these silly open-mouth pumpkin faces. Plus, they're super simple to make, with only three holes needing to be cutout.

Pick any simple cookie cutter that you have in your baking set and use a mallet to help drive it through the shell of your pumpkin. It'll save you from having to cut out more complicated designs by hand and make your shapes uniform. When you're done, consider spray painting the entire thing one color if you want to make it a year-round piece. (Or, at least until it rots.)

Use a stencil to cutout the rooster's main shape and then put chicken wire inside the pumpkin to finish off the look. Secure the wire with hot glue, and use the glue to attach a few strands of raffia to create some tail feathers. Paint some details, and prepare to proudly display this farm-inspired masterpiece.

Get the tutorial at Country Living.

What You'll Need: Chicken wire ($17, Amazon)

This easy honeycomb design allows you to flex multiple creative muscles. Cut out a few of the honeycomb hexagons and paint the rest in. Complete the look with a cute honey dipper accessory.

What You'll Need: Honey dipper ($5, Amazon)

To create a glowing effect in your pumpkin, don't cut all the way through your pumpkin's outer shell to create this look. Instead, use a lemon zester, clay loop, or linoleum cutter to carve into &mdash but not through &mdash the top layer of pumpkin skin.

It might look like hard work to cut out all of these tiny dots, but there's a trick to it that will make it a breeze: use a power drill. Change up the bits you use to make dots of various sizes, and sketch out your design before you pick up the drill to make sure your dots are spaced enough that they won't run into each other and create a blob.

If you have a non-working fireplace, create the aura of a fire with these flame cutouts in your pumpkins. But consider lighting with electric candles instead so there's no reason to worry about a fire hazard inside your house.

If you prefer scratching a design into your pumpkin's skin as opposed to cutting fully through it then this cute design could be for you. Why not match your pumpkin with your house's rustic farmhouse chic vibes by making a Mason jar, perfectly etched with the word "Boo."

After you carve a bony facial expression, stick a plastic spider in one socket. On a tall white pumpkin, trace a circle around plastic spider and cut out. Carve a second circle eye, triangle nose, and jagged teeth. Push spider into 1 eyehole.

What You'll Need: Plastic spider ($9 for 30, Amazon)

Carve an opening out of the top or bottom of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Replace the cutout. Draw eyes and mouth on the pumpkin with the marker. For scooped eyeballs: Use the melon baller to scoop out several small spheres from the outside of the pumpkin. Reattach each sphere to the pumpkin with half a toothpick. If desired, press seeds or spices into the spheres for pupils.

For scooped mouth (far left): Scrape partway through the rind with the melon baller to form the mouth shape. For carved eyes and mouth: Cut out using the knife or pumpkin carver. Using discarded eye cutout, carve two eye shapes. Create two scooped eyeballs as in and attach them to the eye shapes with half a toothpick. Attach the finished eyes to the pumpkin withfull toothpicks. Wipe off any remaining marker with a damp cloth.

Don't look this modern Medusa in the eye or you might turn to stone. Carve 2 large round eyes, 2 smaller circles for nostrils, and squiggly mouth into a blue-green pumpkin. (Tip: Measure and plan for eyeholes to fit LED lights snugly.) Push in LED lights. Hot-glue armature wire to back of rubber snakes, leaving a few extra inches on back end. Push wired snakes into top at sides for pigtails.

What You'll Need: Plastic snake ($13 for 22, Amazon)

Carve an opening out of the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Cut pumpkin horizontally all the way around, 1" to 2" below the opening. Repeat 4 to 6 times until you've carved the whole pumpkin into 1" to 2" circles all the way around (don't worry about making your cuts particularly straight or wavy).

Separate the pieces. Keeping the top and bottom pieces the same, restack the others in a different order. Rotate the pieces until you get a shape you like, enlarging the carvings for eyes or mouth if desired. Starting from the bottom, lift each level of pumpkin, insert 3 to 4 toothpicks onto the level below, then press down to secure in place. Continue with the next level up until entire pumpkin is held together. Place beans into eye holes, securing with half-toothpicks if necessary.

This surprised fella will look oh-so adorable on your stoop. Carve circle eyes and big mouth in any size squash. Push artificial nails into edge of mouth for teeth. For eyes, glue black sequin pupils to at seashell coins push into place.

What You'll Need: Artificial nails ($8 for 500, Amazon)

Hollow out medium round pumpkin from the bottom. Carve 2 oval eyes, then cut 2 smaller circles from leftover rind for pupils. Etch away skin on each pupil using linoleum cutter, attach black button with pin on top and secure to pumpkin with toothpick.

For eyebrows, use awl to poke 3 holes above each eye as shown. Push a length of ¼"-wide black ribbon through left hole knot inside to secure, then thread through holes and knot to close.

Repeat for right eyebrow. For mouth, unzip zipper a little more than halfway. Use black pushpins or silver straight pins (color heads with black permanent marker) to attach zipper, shaping mouth opening. Trace inside open part of zipper with highlighter. Unpin to carve mouth, then repin in place.

With highlighter, draw curved line on white pumpkin for mouth add half-circles below for teeth. Carve along bottom of teeth, widening as needed. Using linoleum cutter, etch away skin on teeth.

Carve eyes, then hot-glue 2 black jelly beans as pupils. Hot-glue candy corn nose and eyelashes. For hair, dip dried corn husks (from a grocery store) in a bowl of water and lay them out. While still damp, tear into different-width strips.

To make curly pieces, roll a few and secure with paper clips until dry. Working around stem, hot-glue one end of each husk strip to top of pumpkin use straight pins to secure as needed. Fold 2 wider corn husk strips in half, and wrap together at ends with a third strip to form a bow hot-glue in place.

What You'll Need: Linoleum cutter ($8, Amazon)

When the sun goes down, these pumpkins are a hoot. Print and tape the templates (Baby Owl, Mama Owl, and Daddy Owl) to the front of a hollowed-out pumpkin, then use a transfer tool or metal skewer to poke holes along the outline of the template.

Remove and discard the template, then use a carving knife to cut along the design. Paint almonds and Brazil nuts orange and glue in place for feet and ears.

Make this bewitching display at home by first hollowing a green heirloom pumpkin. Carve out mouth and eyes, then attach parsnip nose with toothpicks. Straight-pin faux berry branches on top for hair. Print hat template and trace onto felt cut out tracing and assemble with hot glue. Wrap ½-inch satin ribbon above hat brim and place on top of hair.

Carve holes on the tops and bottoms of each pumpkin to let light pass through them, so you don't have to use multiple candles or lights.

You could get some funny-looking pumpkins by simply turning them on their side and using the stems as noses.

With a large serrated knife, cut off top ⅓ of large orange pumpkin and hollow out. Then hollow out bottom part too, and on each side, cut a hole halfway down push skeleton arms through. Cut divots in bottom's base to keep arms steady.

For skull, trace plastic Halloween eyeballs on a small white pumpkin hollow inside traced circles with melon baller, push eyeballs into holes, and then carve a mouth. Position stemless medium white pumpkin inside bottom section of big pumpkin for body top with skull. Secure top and bottom sections of large orange pumpkin along back and sides with wood skewers. Arrange skeleton hands over top.

Using the craft knife, cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and hollow out the inside. Scrape away any extra flesh with the spoon. Rinse a handful of the seeds (about 16 or so), pat dry and set aside. With the washable marker, draw two large ovals for eyes (position them slightly tilted towards each other for a sweeter, less scary look) and a wide, slightly lopsided mouth. Carve out with the craft knife and save the scraps. Wipe away any excess marker with a damp paper towel.

Use the melon baller to carve out two round eyeballs from the fleshy side of the pumpkin scraps. Spear each eyeball with a toothpick and attach them to the tops of the eye cutouts. Gently press a peppercorn into the center of each to create pupils.

Press the cleaned seeds directly into the mouth, positioning them in different directions. (Tip: If the pumpkin isn't completely ripe, try using the tip of the knife to create small notches in the pumpkin where you'll be inserting the teeth.) Complete the look by turning the mini pumpkins upside down and placing them in front of the zombie head to look like hands. To try this project indoors or on a hard surface, create turf with moss or colorful leaves found outside.

Hollow out medium tall pumpkin from the bottom. Carve mouth shape, then stick toothpicks into top and bottom to create teeth. For eyes, slice off bottom of 2 small gourds attach with toothpicks. Push in yellow thumbtacks for pupils. Use highlighter to draw dashes for eyebrows. Remove gourd eyes, etch in eyebrows using linoleum cutter, then replace eyes.

Using the craft knife, cut two rounded feet from the small gourd. Position the oval squash (this is the porcupine body) with the stem centered as a nose. Choose where the feet should sit and press toothpicks into the gourd press the feet into these toothpicks. This should anchor the porcupine body and stop it from rolling around.

To create quills, frame the face by pressing toothpicks into the rind, leaving enough space for eyes. (Tip: Try pushing them in at a slight angle to make it easier). Continue until the body is covered, as shown. Remove two small acorn caps and use hot glue to affix the caps to the face as eyes. Choose a larger acorn, remove the cap and glue it over the stem tip to create a snout nose.

This brave lion only looks hard to make. Hollow large pumpkin from base carve mouth and eyes. Cut nose from a Jack-be-little pumpkin paint black and let dry. Attach to large pumpkin with toothpicks. Halve and hollow a small orange pumpkin for snout secure with wood skewers. Halve and hollow a small orange pumpkin for ears, cut flat on one side secure with toothpicks. Straight-pin faux chrysanthemums around face for mane.

To make this blood-sucker, carve eyes, brows and a mouth into a hollowed-out white pumpkin. Make pupils with permanent marker. Paint large wood teardrops white with red tips to make fangs push into place. Top with a widow's peak cut from a slightly larger orange pumpkin. Pin a black craft foam collar around the pumpkin.

Stand the variegated squash straight up and choose the side you want to face forward. Break five skewers in half and stick them into the back of the squash where the tail should sit, leaving 2" exposed. Press the bell-shaped orange gourd into the skewers at the back of the squash to secure as the tail. (Tip: If the skewers sink into the squash too much as you attach the gourd, simply pinch each with two fingers to hold in place while the gourd slides onto the individual skewer.)

Break four skewers in half and press them into the top of the squash body, leaving 2" exposed. Position the pumpkin so the stem is centered where the nose should sit and push down on the skewers to secure. With the tip of the craft knife, etch out a thin smile by scraping away just the top layer of rind. To create eye sockets, etch slightly deeper holes. Remove the caps of two large acorns.

Flip each cap curved-side out and press into the sockets. Remove the caps of slightly smaller acorns. Apply a dot of hot glue to each acorn and affix to the eye socket caps as pupils. Using the craft knife, cut the small pumpkin into quarters (slice in half horizontally, then in half vertically), scraping away any excess flesh with the spoon. Rinse and clean a handful of seeds. Pat dry and set aside.

Cut pointy ears from two of the pumpkin quarters and press into the pumpkin head with a skewer (break, as needed), allowing the fleshy side to face forward. Turn the remaining pumpkin quarters face down and use the hot glue to affix three pumpkin seeds to each to resemble claws. Secure to the body with skewers (break, as needed).

Autumn Leaf Pumpkin Tutorial.

To make the autumn leaf pumpkin project you will need the following supplies: (affiliate links)

  • 1 pumpkin (I chose a light one because I want to use it later for a face drawn pumpkin project. You can also use afaux pumpkin.
  • 1 glue stick
  • some silk leaves
  • wire wrapped ribbon[

To start, glue on the leaves around the center of the pumpkin. You can do them in a straight row, but I like them sort of haphazardly placed so I did it that way.

Make your wire wrapped ribbon bow. I made mine with four loops since my pumpkin was not a large one. See my tutorial on making an autumn floral bow: Always the Holidays.

Tie the bow on to the stem of the autumn leaf pumpkin, fluff it up a bit, and you are done. That is all there is too it.

To display indoors, just surround the autumn leaf pumpkin with a few gourds for a fall vignette. So pretty!

Want something different for Halloween night? Just switch out the bow for a Halloween themed one. You could add a few Dollar store Halloween stickers too for a more festive look.

When fall rolls around, I also combine sunflowers with pumpkins in a unique no carve sunflower pumpkin display. Check it out!

What to Do With Your Leftover Jack-O-Lanterns

Halloween is now behind us, and the country is littered with soon-to-be-rotting pumpkins. Before you toss your soggy jack-o-lantern in the trash, check out these alternatives:

If your pumpkin has been carved and sat out for more than 24 hours, don’t eat it.

But that doesn’t mean you have to throw it away.

If you painted instead of carving, the uses of your pumpkin are endless!

Obviously, you could remove and roast the pumpkin seeds – everyone loves roasted pumpkin seeds. But you could also use the flesh of the pumpkin to make pumpkin puree, a valuable ingredient with countless uses.

Why should you eat your old Halloween decorations? Pumpkins are amazingly healthy!

Note: Don’t compost or bury painted pumpkins – the paint could be toxic to plants.

Pumpkin puree is a primary ingredient in almost any pumpkin recipe, from breads to pies to soups. Follow these steps to turn a painted pumpkin into pumpkin puree:

Since pumpkin has so many nutrients, it’s a wonderful brain food. Be smarter with C2’s favorite pumpkin recipes!

Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread

This recipe can either make 2 loaves of pumpkin bread or roughly 18-24 pumpkin muffins!

Health tips: To make this recipe even healthier, substitute whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose flour – the bread is so dense that you’ll never taste the difference. For added health benefits, add ¼ – ½ cup of milled flax seeds, which contain omega-3 fatty acids and tons of fiber. The use of honey and maple syrup as the primary sweeteners make this recipe healthier than standard pumpkin bread recipes because these sugar products are less processed and have added health benefits. Maple syrup contains several minerals, including iron, calcium, zinc, manganese and potassium. Honey has antibacterial properties and contains vitamins B-6 and C.

Dry Ingredients

3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¾ cup dried cranberries (can substitute other dried fruit or nuts)

Wet Ingredients

2/3 cup water
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
4 eggs
1 cup honey
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree

Health tips: The onion and garlic in this recipe gives additional health benefits – they have tons of properties that help to prevent disease, infection, and illness. For an added health boost, consider making your own chicken stock the vegetables and herbs in homemade stock offer greater health benefits than store bought. If calories are a concern, substitute 1% or 2% milk for the whole milk – the resulting soup will be a bit thinner and less creamy.

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups pumpkin puree
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup whole milk or half and half
1 tbsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make a Minnie Mouse Pumpkin

Use your round sponge applicator and white paint to make polka dots on the bottom half of your Minnie Mouse pumpkin. Let dry.

Trim a small sliver off the bottom of each ear. Glue this part of each ear to the top right and top left of your pumpkin, pushing the ear toward the pumpkin as the glue sets to secure well.

Create the bow by wrapping ribbon around all four of your fingers three times. Carefully remove ribbon from your fingers and tie in the center with a separate 12” length of ribbon to create the tail ends.

Attach bow to the top center of the Minnie pumpkin with glue gun and then fluff bow loops and trim tails end to prevent fraying.

Here’s a look at the final Mickey Mouse Pumpkin and Minnie Mouse Pumpkin: