While in this day and age kids often trick or treat inside shopping malls and scary costumes have been replaced by costumes more economical in material, one tradition that hasn’t gone away is the annual ritual of carving jack-o’-lanterns. Imported by Irish immigrants in the 19th century, the practice of slicing up gourds to make spooky decorations gained a foothold in North America. Now, there are annual pumpkin carving contests and pages upon pages of Instagram pics of pumpkins far more impressive than anything you can do with a spoon and cheap plastic-handled carving knife. But fear not, if you have the imagination, then we have the tools for the job at hand—and perhaps a few more practical ones. Check out our collection of gear to make the Jack-o’-lantern of your dreams a reality—or at least spend some quality time with the kids.
To open the gourd up and cut out any large pieces, you can use French knife maker Claude Dozorme’s Laguiole carving knife (available at TableArt in LA). Priced at $225 for a set with exotic wood handles that also includes a carving fork, you can wash them off and break them out again in a few weeks for Thanksgiving. Once it’s open, make scooping the guts out a less onerous proposition with a Collective Tools serving spoon (available at Iittala). Its ergonomic design will fit comfortably in your hand, and its stainless steel construction means you can really dig in. For more detailed work, a paring knife should do the trick, and Bob Kramer’s are some of the best out there. And while his knives are usually available on an extremely limited basis, he has created the Meiji collection for Zwilling to his exact specifications. You can pick up one of his 4-inch paring knives for $150.
If you want to take a different—and less messy—approach to the craft, you can paint the entire pumpkin or details on a traditional Jack-o’-lantern with this 12-color paint set from Swiss writing instrument and art supply manufacturer Caran d’Ache. The water-soluble paint comes in 12 ml tubes, and the $61 set includes a brush.
But let’s be realistic: to coax the creativity out of you—and make the process of degutting a pumpkin a little more appealing—you might want to crack open a bottle or two of your favorite beer before the undertaking. So stick with the day’s theme by using the Diabolix bottle opener from Alessi. Though shaped like a horned, grinning red devil, the opener could actually help be someone’s salvation, as a portion of the $19 price tag goes to benefit the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.
Of course, if all of this still seems like just too much for you, there are also a number of high-end preassembled kits out there. One that caught our eye is Grandpa Bardeen’s Family Pumpkin Carving Set, a $45 collection of saws, scoops, and pokers that come in a kit with a fun Americana vibe. If you’re looking to get that unique glowing style that comes from sculpting your pumpkins rather carving them (or a combo of both), Kit Kraft offers its 17-piece Deluxe Pumpkin Carving Kit for $80.
So get into the spirit this year; It’s easier than ever to keep Halloween tradition alive!