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15 Unique pumpkin carving tools, and how to use them

Barbara Alden Wilson is a writer specializing in health and medical topics. You can follow her on Twitter at @BAldenWilson and on her blog,

Top jack-o'-lantern tools

Looking for great ways to carve your pumpkins this season? These tools offer ease of use, creative finishes and quick results.

Ready to get creative with your jack-o'-lantern design this season? We have just the tools. Whether you prefer the old-fashioned, handheld variety or efficient electronic options, these tools will take your pumpkin designs to a whole new level.

1. For the lid and simple cuts: keyhole saw

Top jack-o'-lantern tools
Image: All About Pumpkins

The simple keyhole saw is invaluable for basic pumpkin cuts, such as the picture above. Cutting the lid at a 45-degree angle slanting inward, with the top of the lip larger than the bottom, will keep the lid from falling into the jack-o'-lantern. (Lowe's, $10)

2. For pulp removal: scraper

Top jack-o'-lantern tools
Image: Grangettos

Scraping out the pulp is perhaps the most unpleasant — but necessary — step in pumpkin carving. A serrated-edge scraper spoon by Pumpkin Masters makes the job a whole lot easier. (, $11)

3. For perfect circles: hole cutters

Top jack-o'-lantern tools
Image: We Are Heavy Duty

Perfect holes of different sizes are a snap to accomplish with Kemper hole cutters. The fun, free-form polka-dot design pictured above is just one way to use them. (Dick Blick, $3-$4)

4. For smaller holes: power drill

Top jack-o'-lantern tools
Image: All About Pumpkins

For smaller, uniform holes, nothing beats a power drill, such as the Black and Decker model shown above. Chances are, you already have one. You can plot out with pencil where you want to drill the holes, or take a more free-form approach. The polka-dot pumpkin pictured above makes a fun addition to a display of more traditional jack-o'-lanterns. (Home Depot, $70)

5. For shaving designs into the shell: chisels

Top jack-o'-lantern tools
Image: Squidoo

If you love the look of shaving the pumpkin shell to create variations in light and texture, such as the spider web design above, get a set of chisels. It takes some practice to get the hang of the technique, though, so practice on another pumpkin or on the back of the one you'll be carving first. (, $14)

6. For shaving circle shapes: melon baller

Top jack-o'-lantern tools
Image: Target

You can shave perfect circles into your pumpkin shell, just like in the photo above, simply by using a melon baller, such as the one from OXO SoftWorks. (Target, $9)

7. For mapping out template designs: needle tool

Top jack-o'-lantern tools
Image: Catch My Party

Photo credit:

Instructions for pumpkin design templates, available in stores and online, often recommend mapping out the design using a pin or needle tool. The pin-prick design gives you exact guidelines for where to cut, without ink or pencil lines left behind when you're finished carving.  (Axner, $1)

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