As the clock ticks down to the arrival of The Great Pumpkin, we thought we’d share some last minute tips for pumpkin carving and pumpkin picture-taking, costuming creation, Halloween night house-handling (if you’re not going to be at home), and some expert advice on planning an epic Halloween (for next year).

Quick Carving with Household Tools

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Here’s how to get some fantastic looking results for your pumpkin carving by using common household tools like melon ballers, linoleum cutters and other carving tools, hobby knives, an electric drill, etc. Your pumpkin carving doesn’t have to be two eyes, a nose, and a jagged mouth. It can be any kind of pattern and shape that appeals to you. Get creative. [Photos by Maura Mcevoy. Used with permission.]

Take Great Pumpkin Pics

fh7ie01vsmes9j6315-mediumInstructables’ Eric Wilhelm shares his tips on how to take the best pumpkin photos.

Make Your Own Simple Scars

Here’s a video tutorial from our Make: Believe series on how to apply a few simple scars using basic special effects makeup (available at costume supply or even most drug stores during Halloween).

Hang a Tag When Nobody’s Home

jsimhalloweendoorsignIf you’re not going to be at home on Halloween night, don’t give those little ghouls an excuse to trick you. Print out and hang this sign on your door above a bowl of candy. You can obviously design and print out your own sign and have some fun with the messaging.

When to Start Halloween Planning

halomakerfaireShawn Thorsson says you may already be late. In this piece by master prop maker Shawn Thorsson (the first article he ever wrote for us), he says that you should start planning now for next year’s Halloween. He sometimes plans his builds years in advance. If you want your costume or house haunts to be truly exceptional, you need to start planning and executing as early as possible. Don’t wait, or you’ll have to cut corners and won’t be able to fix your mistakes. Epic comes with effort.

We’ll leave you with these words of wisdom from Shawn:

There’s no better time than Halloween to show off your creativity, your maker chops, and your willingness to go completely over the edge. Be warned though, this can be the beginning of an addiction.

Have fun. Keep it spooky. Be safe. Happy Halloween!