My Scary Halloween
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The dark night of Halloween beckons all the living to grab a sharp knife and hack away at a gourd. At first, this may not sound like "art" but once you have experienced some of the most amazing jack-o-lanterns ever created, you might have a change of heart. The best part is that you cannot possibly mess up. If your project turns out crooked, vile, oddly pasted together it will look perfect for this macabre holiday. For additional stencils, tools, accessories, and inspiration, visit the pumpkin carving sites listed below.

Twilight Flight


A pumpkin carving revolution is underway and a major new product is redefining pumpkin carving.

While using a professionally designed stencil is essential, transferring those patterns onto the pumpkin via the traditional methods (taping and poking holes) can be time consuming and frustrating. Thankfully, fabric purveyor Sulky has introduced a revolutionary product: Stick 'n Carve.

You print out your pattern on the special sheet, peel off the backing, then stick it onto the pumpkin like a sticker. You can easily carve right through material with ease and the pattern will not shift, lift or misalign. Super easy and efficient since it eliminates the most tedious step.

What makes this sticky paper incredibly unique is that you can reposition it. It peels off the pumpkin easily, and for thin areas with very intricate/delicate cutting, you can rinse and dissolve the transfer sheet with warm water. It's literally Halloween miracle!

Click here to see the video tutorial below and order these at Zombie Pumpkins, Uncommon Thread, and


Fall may be dominated by football but at the tail end of October another sport takes the country by storm: Punkin Chunkin'. Pumpkins are hurled through the air by a variety of means from slingshots to catapults to pneumatic cannons in competitions around the country.

The oldest and largest annual competition is held by World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) in Sussex County, Delaware just after Halloween. Teams compete for 3 days in various divisions based on their mechanical method. There's even a theatrical division which relies completely on fan votes.

Pie In The Sky: Punkin ChunkinMany factors go into the range achieved by the flying gourds: mass, shape, size, pitch, elevation and, of course, the weather. Also a factor is the variety of pumpkin since the rinds must be thick enough to withstand the force of the hurling. As a standard rule, pumpkins must remain intact during the launch and flight, otherwise they are branded "pie in the sky" – which happens to be the title of the book endorsed by WCPCA.

The current WCPCA world record is held by Team Young Glory III who air shot a pumpkin 4,383 feet in 2008.

In 2008, the Science Channel began airing annual specials. Coverage expanded over the subsequent years as the specials have become the highest rated program on the channel. Several DVDs and digital downloads are also available.



Carving a scary pumpkin is the quintessential Halloween night activity. The 3 basic steps for carving a pumpkin are: Find It, Gut It, and Face It. For a thorough guide read our step-by-step Visual Guide to Pumpkin Carving, and learn a little more about the various Pumpkin Tools to help you achieve great results.

Grocery stores get the typical suspects in September, but for the best selection shop at your local pumpkin farm – look for the unusual varieties!

Use a sturdy serrated knife to cut it open, then scoop out the seeds and membranes. Thin the wall where the face is going, then clean and dry.

Sketch out a face with a grease pencil or transfer a pattern to your pumpkin. Using sturdy tools, cut, trim or carve out the pumpkin face.

Find a Pumpkin Patch near you
The Visual Guide to Pumpkin Tools
The Visual Guide to Pumpkin Carving


To get you started, here are some free patterns to download (PDF), print, trace and carve. These are fairly easy patterns but don't feel limited to these. Use them as a starting point, or look for patterns from one of the sites listed below.

Evil Smile
Evil Smile
Icky Spider
Icky Spider
Midnight Owl
Midnight Owl
Haunted House
Haunted House
Bad Cat
Bad Cat
Grave Ghost
Grave Ghost
Trick 'r Treat
Trick 'r Treat
Bat Night
Bat Night



These gourd-ful sites offer downloadable patterns, unlimited seasonal subscriptions, how-to tips, and plenty of inspiration for your monster-piece You can even learn how to grow your own pumpkins – lots of sun, water and fertilizer!

Zombie Pumpkins
The best and most stylish stencils, unique designs, inexpensive download subscriptions, detailed how-to instructions, and a huge gallery of photos for inspiration.

Pumpkin Way
Amazing collection of artfully carved pumpkins doesn't offer stencils or instruction, but it does offer great inspiration.

Extreme Pumpkins
Shocking and original designs, tips and fire effects (?) for your jack-o-lantern. This is not a site for the timid.

Pumpkins & More
Everything you wanted to know about growing, harvesting, and eating pumpkins.

Pumpkin Masters
Founded in 1986, this first brand brought carving fun to every drugstore in America, and offers a wide variety of tools and kits for the lil' ones.

Gothic and intricate patterns for advanced artisans, also offers custom created patterns from a photo - very cool!



Get obsessed with the iconic symbol of Halloween, learn a few new recipes then take a knife to it!

Extreme Pumpkins

by Tom Nardone
(Penguin Books, 2007)
This is NOT your mother's jack-o-lantern book! Featuring some crazy, unique designs.

Extreme Pumpkins II

by Tom Nardone
(Penguin Books, 2008)
Another serving of inappropriate and offensive pumpkins. Yay!


Pumpkin Chic

by Editors of Country Living Magazine
(Hearst, 2005)
This IS your mother's pumpkin book.

Extreme Pumpkin Carving

by Vic Hood, Jack A. Williams
(Fox Chapel, 2004)
A unique look at exquisite "art" carving.

How To Carve Pumpkins for Great Results

by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell
(Southwater, 2006)
20 designs shown in 100 step-by-step photos.

Pumpkin, A Super Food for all 12 Months of the Year

by DeeDee Stovel
(Storey, 2005)
All the pumpkin recipes you could ever want.

Great Pumpkins

by Peter Cole
(Chronicle, 2003)
Beautifully designed, high gloss book of hip pumpkins.

The Perfect Pumpkin

by Gail Damerow
(Storey Books, 1997)
A complete reference for growing and using pumpkins.