Pumpkin carving ideas usually fall into one of two categories: Overly simplified (just make a face on the pumpkin) or exceptionally difficult (anything in Martha Stewart Living's October issue). We'd like to think that these projects fall somewhere in the middle, with a nod to a few inspiring "extreme" pumpkins. Depending on your carving skills, these are all possible to make, providing you have a linoleum carving kit (like this one from Speedball). These tools will allow you to do things like etch and carve fine details with minimal work. In the meantime, we'll stick to a Pac-Man jack o'lantern like the one above.
Need a handy primer on pumpkin carving? Visit the pros at Extreme Pumpkins.
These owl pumpkins are simply adorable, aren't they? Though you can treat the pumpkin as the owl body, we especially like the tree silhouette with the owl on a branch.
Our favorite idea yet: A Happy Meal, rendered in pumpkin form. Even the fries are pumpkin (wedges, that is). Now we're hungry...
If you can do this, we'll be super-impressed. Here, dahlias and roses decorate the surface of a pumpkin for an elegant jack o'lantern alternative.
Okay, we get that this pumpkin is a tribute to Wordpress. But we think the idea is worth borrowing for other letters, to create custom monograms.
This idea is the most popular for Halloween 2011: A jack o'lantern that's eating another jack o'lantern. How meta. To create this, just give a mini-pumpkin a terrified expression and stick it in the mouth of a larger carved pumpkin.
Flickr.com/Urban Sea Star
Who says Halloween has to be scary all the time? This cow begs to differ. It's beautifully sculpted from the surface of a pumpkin, portrait-style.
A spooky cat is a Halloween classic. You don't have to get too detailed either to get the feline point across. A cat face and tail (or a silhouette) will do.
For those of you who love a nautical theme year-round comes this pumpkin, which depicts an old-timey boat at sea. Although it kind of reminds us of the Old Spice label. Agree or disagree?
Yes, spiderwebs can go gorgeous. The proof? This amazingly detailed pumpkin. It's almost like a mini gothic cathedral. To carve this level of tiny detail, definitely use a Dremel drill with a fine bit.