There are a ton of different ways to carve your Halloween pumpkin, but most of the boring, traditional options aren’t enough to get you noticed by the neighbors. Here are a few ideas we like that bend the norms and try something different, which you can use for inspiration on October 31.

1) Emoji pumpkins


Don’t try and fight it: the emojis have won and taken over normal words and sentences. Celebrate the death of language this Halloween by carving your pumpkin into your favorite emoji.

If you’ve got a few pumpkins lying around you can build up a whole sentence of pictorial prompts to greet trick or treaters as they tour your neighborhood. Or, instead of carving, just stencil instead. [Link]

2) Death Star pumpkin


It’s the right shape, and it conveys the right kind of Imperial dread, so this year turn your pumpkin into sci-fi’s most recognizable (and deadly) space station. It’s really up to you how elaborate to make it.

For the more creative and advanced carvers among you, there’s plenty of opportunity to take the idea further. Maybe you could add some X-Wings or smaller models of the team from Rogue One. [Link]

3) Beer cooler pumpkin


You don’t necessarily have to use your pumpkin for decoration and show off your artisan skills to guests. Turning a spare pumpkin into a beer cooler isn’t difficult to do is a great way to hand out treats at a party.

All you need is a pumpkin, a knife, some ice, and some beer and you’re pretty much set. Just make sure the size of your pumpkin cooler matches the number of guests you’re expecting to drop by. [Link]

4) Two-are-better-than-one pumpkin


Two pumpkins are better than one, and let you get even more creative. With two smaller white pumpkins inside two larger orange ones, you can make a creepy-looking pair of eyeballs for your front porch.

It’s not the only option if you’ve got a couple of pumpkins spare. Try the twins from The Shining, for example, or have a bigger pumpkin devouring a smaller one (see above...). [Link]

5) Dry ice pumpkin


It’s time to get advanced with your Halloween pumpkins. While many people settle for a simple bit of carving, if you want to go further, you can add a spooky effect with some dry ice and some water.

There are a few extra things to bear in mind, like how to keep the dry ice effect going through the night, but it’s not as difficult as you might think and there are plenty of tutorials on the web. [Link]

6) Fish bowl pumpkin


You know what else a pumpkin sort of looks like? A fish bowl. Carve out enough pumpkin to give your fish a good view, drop in a tank of a suitable size, and your fish will happily swim around all Halloween.

For some finishing touches, why not have a black cat pumpkin keeping an eye on the tank, or drop a gravestone inside the water? Just make sure your fish stay out of the cold and out of direct sunlight. [Link]

7) Stranger Things pumpkin


Show your love of Eleven or your fear of the demogorgon with a Stranger Things-inspired pumpkin. Usually, the better your carving skills the more effective this is going to be, but don’t hold back.

Of course any kind of movie or television show tie-in will work, from Game of Thrones to Suicide Squad to Westworld. Find a template on the web and all you need then is a knife and a steady hand. [Link]

8. Totem pole pumpkin


For the most dramatic of effects, think about combining several pumpkins together, as with this totem pole. Everything’s held together with a fence post and there are string lights through the middle.

If you have enough pumpkins and enough time you can populate your front lawn with an army of snowman-style pumpkin people, maybe with some of them appearing to chase the others. [Link]

9) Raspberry Pi pumpkin


Got a Raspberry Pi and some coding chops? You can create a range of embedded pumpkin effects with the world’s most popular microcomputer, including a lantern that lights up as someone approaches.

Whether you want to change colors inside your pumpkin or have the lights run on a schedule, the Pi can help as long as you can keep it powered. As an added bonus, it’s educational as well. [Link]

10) Jack Skellington pumpkin


Finally, you could go for the pumpkin king himself and the star of A Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington. It’s hard to think of a better Halloween tie-in than Tim Burton’s dark fantasy.

If you’ve forgotten what he looks like there are tons of stencils and tutorials online, and for a more complete effect you can add some colors or some secondary characters from the Nightmare cast. [Link]