24 fun Halloween decorating ideas Set the mood for a stylishly spooky holiday with pumpkin carving ideas and tricks the neighborhood will love Stylish pumpkin stencil Artist Nikki McClure shares instructions for creating this unique jack-o'-lantern for Halloween. Get the free stencil and how-to. Pinterest Spooky diorama Cut the stem and a few inches of the rind around it out of the top of the pumpkin, then scoop out the seeds. Cut a rectangle out of the face of the pumpkin. Position rubber animals and miniature trees—available at craft stores—in the “window,” poking the tree trunks into the flesh if needed. Place an LED candle inside. Ghostly group With all the pumpkins available, why settle for the same ’ol, same ’ol? This year, pick up a white pumpkin, and carve a spooky specter. Better yet, buy a bunch and create a pack of them. A few tips: For perfectly round or oblong eyes, print large O’s from your computer to use as a guide. Play around with various sizes and fonts—italicized ones work especially well. Cut out the O’s, tape them to your pumpkin, then use a large needle or pushpin to transfer your design to the pumpkin. Sneaky jack-o'-lantern carving Show off a traditional Halloween message in a highly unusual way. Jackie Ortega, owner of San Francisco's Craft Gym, says this project is easy to pull off once you know the secret. More: Get this sneaky jack-o'-lantern secret Floating pumpkins Foam pumpkins are thin enough to carve with a craft knife and light enough to hang with thin wire. How to: Make floating pumpkins Batman and friend Add a bit of mystery to your carved pumpkins by fitting them with ready- made black masks. (Or make a mask from black construction paper or black felt from a crafts store). Pumpkin house numbers Pumpkin house numbers are a surprising twist on the traditional jack-o'-lantern. More: How to carve pumpkin house numbers Black cat o'lanterns Create a spooky trio of glossy black cats to watch over trick-or-treaters at your door. All you need are a few pumpkins in feline shapes ― long or pear-shaped for the body, small and round for the face. More: How to make black cat o'lanterns Halloween globes Invert a glass globe that normally goes over an electric ceiling light fixture, tuck a tea light inside, and you've got a glowing Halloween lantern. Choose a globe that fits over the porch light and you can greet trick-or-treaters in an orange glow. Get the how-to: Make globe lanterns Glitter and glam A shapely white pumpkin doesn’t need much help to sparkle on a clean white table or porch. Just buy tiny metallic stars and rubbery spiders at the crafts store, then sprinkle them around. Use dabs of white glue to hold some of them in place where needed). Pumpkin bouquet Welcome trick-or-treaters with a cheerful grouping of harvest-season pumpkin flowers. These daisies, roses, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums are just as easy to carve as a ghoulish face. The tricky part: instead of cutting all the way through the core, peel away the tough outer layer and allow the pith underneath to remain. The contrasting shapes of orange will stand out during the day and glow at night. Dancing skelly Three pumpkins, joined together totem style, form this Halloween character that appears to kick up his heels on a front lawn. Use rebar stakes to secure the pumpkins to each other, and to the ground. Beautiful, leafy pumpkins How to: Carve elegant pumpkins Encircle a few Halloween pumpkins with slender carvings to add a subtle glow to your front porch. Glowing vines A Sunset favorite: meandering patterns add a whimsical storybook appeal to your arrangement. Harlequin leaves Repeat a single leaf shape for a quilted look on hollow pumpkins. (Tip: long, thin grooves at a 45° angle work best.) Glowing globes These DIY glowing globes and lighted tree turn your entry into a delightfully spooky pathway to Halloween treats. String your Halloween lanterns along your entry for a proper greeting to the neighborhood goblins. Spacing out Comets, planets, and stars bring outer space to your front porch. Hang tiny white lights around them to enhance the effect. Frankensquash A green pumpkin with painted “hair” and pieces of stem embellishing its jaws looms out of the darkness on this tabletop. Mod and easy When time is short, forget pumpkin carving altogether and go for paint; acrylic paints from the crafts store work best. Use a damp cloth to wipe the pumpkin clean, then air dry it or dry with a paper towel. Outline the design using a stencil. Paint it in stages (top and sides first, then—when it’s dry—the bottom, so the pumpkin won’t stick to a paper-covered surface). Silhouettes Create a centerpiece-worthy embossed effect with no candle or seed scooping required. Arrange multiple silhouetted pumpkins along the center of an outdoor table. We added stones and leaves to complete the setting. Football season If you're a 49ers fan but your neighbor is rooting for the Raiders, try this Halloween pumpkin play on your front porch, using two small pumpkins and two larger ones. On the smaller pumpkins, carve the faces by peeling away the tough outer core but allow the pith underneath to remain. Then hollow out and carve the larger ones (from the bottom instead of the top), and paint them. Slip the larger “helmets” over the smaller “heads”. Party pumpkins More: How to paint party pumpkins Tiny pumpkins―or any small gourds―can be colored in minutes with acrylic paints or permanent markers. The secret to their jewel-like sparkle is a finishing glaze applied after the paint or ink has thoroughly dried. Soup time If you really want to keep things easy for a Halloween treats buffet, try this: remove the top of a pumpkin or other squash, hollow it out, and use it as a serving bowl for your favorite squash soup. More: 25 recipes with winter squash Halloween in a pot To decorate your patio or porch with a mini Halloween garden this month, try plants instead of plastic Halloween pumpkins or gossamer ghosts. Combine black foliage with orange blooms in pots of similar hues like ebony and persimmon.