7 Tips for Making the Best Pumpkins Ever

Use these carving and painting tricks to transform the ordinary Halloween decoration into something truly smashing this year.

Plus, fun facts you didn't know about pumpkins!

1. Try Black and White Pumpkins

Savannah stylist Liz Demos skipped the carving knife and went straight for a paintbrush to fashion these graphic pumpkins. "With a stark black-and-white palette," Demos said of her trio of bold designs, "you can make any pattern, even creepy insects, look downright chic."

Complete how-to: Black and White Pumpkins

2. Create a Crescent Moon

Paul Lowe, a New York City stylist, found inspiration in a classic toy for his celestial creation: "I wanted to mimic the look of a Lite-Brite, so I punched holes to create a simple crescent moon - shaped image, then added a string of tiny bulbs to make it glow," he said.

Complete how-to: Crescent Moon

3. Make Lantern Pumpkins

New York City stylist Marissa Corwin put a cheeky spin on the very word jack-o'-lantern with her three glowing silhouettes of old-school lamps. "They're a bit more sophisticated than your average spooky face - something adults can appreciate, too," she said.

Complete how-to: Lantern Pumpkins

4. Use Cool Tricks

Special effects don't require special tools when it comes to pumpkin carving. To clean out the inside of the pumpkin, ceramic artist Derek Harding recommends using a potter's loop tools and a variety of knives - paring, X-Acto, and serrated - to make precise cuts. Though the carving should be restricted to the adults, the entire family will love the artful results.

5. How to Light Your Jack-O'-Lantern

Use votive candles inside glass holders filled with a little water, so the candle will go out when it burns down. Use two or more candles for greater light. Or use a small string of battery-operated Christmas lights.

Complete how-to: How to Light Your Jack-O'-Lantern

6. Make a Pumpkin Tower

Use a drill and a large dowel to create this towering display. An Australian "Crown Prince" pumpkin serves as the base, which is topped with a scarlet maxima pumpkin, known for its brilliant rind, a French cheese pumpkin called "Musquee de Provence," a pallid "Baby Boo," and finally an ornamental gourd topper.

Complete how-to: Pumpkin Tower

7. Try a Leaf Pattern

A shallow leaf pattern is the perfect seasonal motif for this pumpkin. Use a linoleum cutter to cut out the design, leaving small pieces to suggest leaf veins.

Complete how-to: Leaf Pattern

Want more great pumpkin carving tips? We've got plenty here!

Get more from CountryLiving.com:

Festive Table Settings for Halloween

Best Types of Apples for Cooking

Easy Halloween Crafts

DIY Halloween Costumes

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.