If you absolutely love Halloween and have more than a little time before the autumn holiday (say, while you're being bombarded by Hurricane Sandy for you northeast-coasters), why not go a little crazy with your Halloween pumpkin carving and depart from the traditional jagged-toothed depiction of a face on a jack-o'-lantern?

Softpedia has some thoughts on creative pumpkin-carving designs some innovative holiday lovers have used for Halloween. Of course, you can put just about anything you want on a pumpkin if you have the time and inclination, but if you want to stick with the face motif and bring a little bit of Hollywood into your Halloween, there are some intricate options on the site that range from a skeletal pirate a la Pirates of the Caribbean and an image of Darth Vader's helmet to Mustafa from The Lion King, and even Heath Ledger's joker from Batman.

If some of these artistic options seem a little advanced for the average Halloween-lover, there are many ways to make an standard pumpkin look like a work of art using only a regular layperson's skills. For one, you can draw your design on a sheet of paper first and transfer it to the skin of the jack-o'-lantern-to-be by re-tracing the original over the surface of your pumpkin while pressing down hard on the surface.

For optimal effect start carving toward the center of your design and work outward. This will keep the pressure off parts you've already carved. If you make a mistake and cut off something you weren't supposed to, simply use a toothpick to reattach it. And if you want your orange spooky creation to have a nice smell, sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg on the inside of the lid before you light it.

All you need are some pumpkins, a well-sharpened knife and some time and creativity. And, while you're at it, you might as well get creative with some homemade Halloween costumes for your kids that can be both inexpensive and innovative, range from a toothbrush and a snowflake to a chocolate chip cookie, a chef's getup, or a piece of sushi.

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