As an alternative to carving pumpkins you might like to consider painting on a design. I used tole paint from the craft store to create this scroll pattern. The bonus of using this method is that if you slip up, you can just wash it off and start again. This is the first time that I’ve tried painting a pumpkin and I’m quite taken with the effect, especially for decorative purposes. As far as Halloween goes, I must admit that there’s nothing quite like a traditionally carved jack o’lantern. If you have the time and the interest, why not do both? Or if you like, paint with water-soluble paint and enjoy, then later on wash it off and carve it up for Halloween. (Depending on your design you might not even need to wash it off, have a patterned carved pumpkin.) You have doubled your pleasure and used the same pumpkin. Thrifty!