As kids, making a jack-o-lantern was simple: Scoop out the guts, carve a couple eyes and a jagged-looking mouth, pop in a candle, and voila. It was the perfect Halloween decoration for your front porch that would usually last until the neighborhood hooligans would smash it to bits.
Nowadays, however, slicing and dicing a pumpkin into jack-o-lantern has become an odd artform. There are countless websites and tutorials dedicated to transforming an orange gourd into a breathtaking masterpiece, homages to such geeky interests as Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica, or other extraordinary designs.
The web is also rife with pumpkin carvers showing off their unique and impressive efforts, some of which we've assembled into a list of cool jack-o-lanterns.
Read on for a look at some the grooviest gourds around, which might just inspire you to create one of your own.
8. The Death Star's Wrath
Many have made the iconic space station from Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope into a jack-'o-lantern, but one geek took things a step further by adding an exploding pumpkin as the target of Death Star's laser weapon.
6. Noel Dickover's Sleeping Beauty
If you happen to visit the Virginia home of Noel Dickover, expect to be impressed by the dozens of intricate ly fashioned designs. Our favorite is the one featuring the battle between Maleficent and Prince Philip from the 1959 Disney classic.
5. Windell Oskay's Dalek
Another impressive geek-o-lantern was made by this NoCal nerd, who showed off his love of the long-running BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who by rendering the Time Lord's longtime foe in gourd form. Here's the kicker: He also installed remote-controlled servos, wheels, LED lights, and other gear to bring it to come to life. It might have some trouble killing the good doctor with a meat thermometer and beater, however.
4. David LaRochelle's Pumpkin Art
It's a shame that the epic jack-o-lanterns of this Minnesota artist only last a couple weeks at most, since his tattoo-like efforts are something you'd want to display year-round.
3. Scott Cummins' The Dude
The slacker protagonist of 1998 cult flick The Big Lebowski continue to abide, albeit as a jack-'o-lantern. The Texas-based artist who created this beauty could've added a White Russian, bowling ball, and a pair of sunglasses along with it, however. Hope he didn't stain his carpet while making it, especially since it brings the whole room together.
2. David Bradley Billings' Skulls
This crafty carver - who resides in Vancouver, Canada - spends upwards of 36 hours on each of his creations, many of which are fashioned to resemble skulls. Each Halloween, Billing's unusual oeuvre is displayed during an annual showcase entitled "Monster Pumpkins."
1. Ray Villafane's Viking
Comic book artist Ray Villafane has earned much fame from his fancy jack-o-lanterns. He's not only a multiple-time winner of the Food Network's Challenge: Outrageous Pumpkins, but also travels across the country to stage live carvings. Arguably his most beauteous work is this fearsome Viking.
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