Used originally to frighten away evil spirits, now placed near the front door to deter trick or treaters, carved pumpkins have been part of Halloween for a very long time. Here Martyn Loach explains the process of creating the scariest pumpkin in your street.
First you have to pick the correct pumpkin, rotund with a stem sturdy enough to act as a handle.
Hollow the pumpkin out by extracting the seeds and flesh with a fork, spoon or melon baller. You can then either use a sharp knife to cut a design freehand or first draw it on the skin with a pen.
The classic face has familiar triangular eyes and nose with a mouth that stretches from ear to ear. Usually in need of orthodontic treatment, two or three crooked lopsided teeth are the best dentures that can be hoped for.
Rather than scary, he could be the image of your favourite uncle, worse for wear, slumped in the armchair at Christmas. So what else can we have?
Have you ever thought how disturbing a circus clown's mask is? Perhaps if you are very adept with a sharp knife you can re-create the large round eyes, big nose and slightly manic grin of all the best clowns. The smile they have in the ring may turn to something more sinister later.
The Eyes Have It
Try turning the triangular eyes on their side to point inwards and downwards and replace the crooked teeth with a serrated snarl. Recess the face into the pumpkin to make it even more grotesque.
Think of the things you wouldn't want to bump into in a dark alley. A bat, skull, or giant spider with large fangs. Some of the scariest and more inventive designs can take a fair amount of skill, so try finding a template to download. You can also invest in a pumpkin carving kit.
Whatever you decide on, remember that you're only decorating a pumpkin. If you feel like decorating your home or garden for Halloween and want some inspiration view our Halloween Garden Ornaments.