These pumpkin-carving tools are must-haves for the perfect Halloween jack-o'-lanterns. Learn how to use each tool, plus see our favorite pumpkin-carving ideas.

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It's not Halloween without a spooky jack-o'-lantern! Carving the perfect pumpkin can seem like a daunting task, but we've rounded up the best tools and techniques to help you make this Halloween tradition a breeze. Get our seven must-have pumpkin carving tools, and then try our best tips for how to use them.

Most of the tools are cheap to purchase (you can find most of them in traditional pumpkin carving kits), and you may even already have a few of them. With these easy pumpkin-carving hacks, your carved creations will be the envy of the neighborhood this Halloween.

Must-Have Pumpkin Carving Tools

These are our favorite pumpkin carving tools. We'll show you how to use them and give you ideas for pumpkins you can carve with each one.

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How to clean out a pumpkin, scoop out the insides of a pumpkin
Credit: Brie Passano

1 Large Spoon

The least enjoyable part of carving a pumpkin is scooping out the insides, which is why we like the idea of using a large metal ice scoop for this step. Use a sturdy metal spoon to scrape the inside edges of the pumpkin to separate the pulp from the shell. The spoon can also scoop the pulp and seeds out and into a bowl or disposable plastic bag. And don't waste your pumpkin seeds once you've scooped them out; try roasting them!

Buy It: Ice Scoop ($5, Bed Bath & Beyond)

pumpkin carving and clay modeling tools on orange background
Credit: Jay Wilde

2 Keyhole Saw

Since this small saw has a long blade, it's the ideal tool to make the first cut into your pumpkin. The long blade easily cuts through pumpkins of all thicknesses; cut slowly with long sawing motions. When cutting the initial hole in the top or bottom of your pumpkin, keep in mind that the hole should be large enough to put your arm into.

Buy It: Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit ($9, Amazon)

Carving a pumpkin jack-o-lantern face
Credit: Brie Passano

3 Fine-Tooth Saw

To carve the finer details of your pumpkin, use a fine-tooth saw. It functions similarly to the keyhole saw, but its small blade will help you make smaller and more intricate carvings. Hold this saw in your hand like a pencil and saw around your design using an in-and-out motion, keeping the blade perpendicular to the pumpkin surface. When carving larger designs, it's helpful to start in the middle of the pumpkin surface and work your way outward so that your hand always has a solid surface to rest on; this will help you stay in control of the blade for a safer and more accurate cut.

Buy It: Pumpkin Carving Tool Kit ($13, Amazon)

Etched White Pumpkins
Credit: Michael Piazza

4 Clay Modeling Tools

Clay modeling tools are perfectly suited for cleaning the inside of the pumpkin. Use the tool like a potato peeler to scrape the inner walls of the pumpkin until they are no more than 1 inch thick (this will make carving easier later). The modeling tools are flexible and bend to fit the curve of the pumpkin, so you'll be able to get a clean edge all the way around. Once you've cleaned out the pumpkin, you can also use the tools to etch designs on the pumpkin rather than carve shapes all the way through the rind.

Buy It: 6-Piece Modeling Tool Set ($9, Amazon)

apple corer
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

5 Apple Corer

One of our favorite pumpkin-carving hacks is using nontraditional tools to create perfect shapes. A handheld apple corer is a great way to carve out perfect circles because it usually has an easy-to-grip handle that allows you to apply even pressure to the surface of the pumpkin.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Apple Corer ($10, Amazon)

Purple pumpkin with orange polka-dots
Credit: Michael Piazza

6 Melon Baller

A simple melon baller is another of our favorite carving tools because it's so easy to use (and you likely already have one in your kitchen drawer!). Simply use the tool to scoop out holes in the rind of the pumpkin to create even circles. For an extra fun look, place the scooped pieces back in the pumpkin with the round ends facing out.

Buy It: OXO Softworks Melon Baller ($10, Target)

home depot drill set
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

7 Drill with Drill Bits

For smaller holes, use a drill that is outfitted with different-size drill bits to get perfect circles every time. This is an easy way to carve intricate designs or quickly get perfect circles. Here's how to decorate fall pumpkins with a drill.

Buy It: Cordless Drill with 43-Piece Kit ($28, The Home Depot)

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