The Jack-o-Lantern is one of the most familiar icons at Halloween. Large orange pumpkins carved with spooky faces or beautiful artwork grace the front porches of houses everywhere. No matter where you go during the month of October, you’re sure to find pumpkins for sale or set out as decorations.

But if you’re in the mood to make Jack-o-Lantern that is just a little more unique and special, we have some lovely ideas for you. Consider one of these fun alternatives:

Carve it As the Ancestors Did

The Jack-o-Lantern originated in Britain, Scotland, and Ireland. They did not have our familiar American pumpkin, therefore, the original Jack-o-lanterns were carved out of turnips, squash, beets, and potatoes.

Although these Jack-o-Lanterns are a bit smaller, leaving you less creative space for carving, their unique look can provide an added level of creepiness you didn’t originally consider. These three Jack-o-lanterns are made with turnips, and their creepy quality is undeniable!

Do a Little Recycling

Instead of throwing items away, try using them to make your own unique jack-o’-lanterns. Milk cartons work great – set your inner artist free drawing spooky or friendly faces on them with a Sharpie marker, cut a spot in the back big enough to insert your hand through, fill the bottom with dirt or sand, and set a tea light candle inside to burn. Small paper bags (lunch sacks) are great for this, too – like luminaries at Christmas, but with spooky faces.

For those with autumn leaves, there are also trash bags especially designed to look like Jack-o’-lanterns. Clean up and celebrate at the same time when you fill them up with your leaves and sit them around in your yard until Halloween is over.

Draw Your Pumpkin

Instead of carving your pumpkin up and shortening its life, why not just draw a picture of a face? For that matter, if you’re drawing, you can do anything you want! Be creative and have fun, using lots of colors and techniques. Not only does it give you the opportunity to express your artistic talents, but an intact pumpkin lasts longer.

Left outside, a pumpkin will usually last two to three weeks. Once cut, that time is reduced to a matter of days. Also, if you plan to eat your pumpkin, it is always better to leave it intact. (Yes, even carving pumpkins are edible and, if cooked right, quite delicious!)

These are only some examples of alternative ways to create Jack-o’-lanterns. Using just a bit of imagination and creativity, you might just spook yourself out by the wonderful ideas you come up with!