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Spice up your Halloween decor with these pumpkin carving ideas

Not your mama's Jack-o'-lantern

Despite the blue skies and 80-degree days, it’s actually fall, which means its time to pull your scarves, leggings and boots out of storage and start transforming your home into Halloween wonderland — on nightmare, the choice is yours.

The staple of any self-respecting Halloween decoration is, of course, the Jack-o-lantern. The carved pumpkin gives some leeway for creativity with a classic touch.

These days, pumpkin carving is somewhat of an art of its own and Metro has found some of the spookiest, funniest and cleverest designs to inspire you as you set out to carve your Jack-o-lantern this year. Scroll through the gallery for inspiration.

Metro also has a few tips on how to pick the perfect pumpkin and how to keep it fresh once it's carved.

How to pick your perfect Halloween pumpkin

The first thing to remember is all pumpkins aren’t created equal, and while size matters, bigger isn’t always better, according to homemaking blog, The Spruce.

When looking for the perfect squash for carving your Jack-o-Lantern of choice, you’ll want to look for a nice shape (rounded, maybe slightly flat on one side) that will last for several days once carved.

Once you’ve made your choice, there are a few things to remember that will help you get it home in one piece:

- Make sure your pumpkin is fully mature (it will appear firm and hard on the outside).
- Never carry your pumpkin by the stem — stems snap off easily and will leave your pumpkin open to infection and rot, which will lead to a quick demise for your carved creation.
- Inspect your pumpkin for bruises or soft spots — this means your pumpkin is already past its prime and won’t last you too long.

How to keep your pumpkin fresh for Halloween and beyond

Nobody likes a dried-out, shriveled up Jack-o’-lantern, so it’s important to follow these simple steps to stop it from decaying as soon as its cut and exposed to air.

As with most things, the fresher the better, but if you need to carve your pumpkin a few days before displaying it, these tips will help it live a long, fulfilling life.

- Keep it in a cool spot, out of direct sunlight.
- Spray it with an anti-transpirant, like Wilt-Pruf.
- Drape the entire pumpkin with a damp towel.
- Protect it from animals that might be tempted to take a bite.
- Don’t leave it outdoors if there’s a threat of frost.

Happy carving!