By Kieran Juska
Tired of carving the same old snaggletoothed jack-o'-lanterns? We've come up with a few fresh ways to transform pumpkins and gourds into beautiful -- even elegant -- decorations. Some tips to bear in mind before tackling these projects: Carving freehand can be difficult even for skilled carvers, so map out your designs by drawing them on the pumpkin rind first with a china marker (that way, any mistakes can easily be rubbed off with a little Goo Gone cleaning solvent). For the just-below-the-surface relief-carving technique used in some of these designs, you will need a linoleum-cutting tool, available at art stores, which is designed for shallow sculpting on medium-soft materials. The relief technique is not difficult, but allow yourself some practice time on a starter pumpkin or two until you get the hang of it.