You’ve picked perfect pumpkins. You downloaded the most crazy-badass carving templates ever, and you have spent literally hours working on your Halloween creations — so how come your jack-o’-lanterns are still a huge disappointment? If you’re plagued with lackluster pumpkins, you may just need to level up on your carving tools.
Whether you prefer the old-fashioned handheld variety or efficient electronic options, these tools will take your pumpkin designs to places beyond your wildest dreams. Seriously, ditch the kitchen knife.
1. For the lid and simple cuts: keyhole saw
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, $9.98)
2. For pulp removal: scraper
3. For perfect circles: hole cutters
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, $3.62-$3.95 each)
4. For smaller holes: power drill
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, $54.56)
5. For shaving designs into the shell: chisels
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. (ToolPlanet.com, $13.99)
Originally posted October 2013. Updated September 2017.