Thick skinned winter squashes such as Hubbard and Kabocha make for great alternatives to the traditional orange pumpkin. Mix them up for a variety of ghoulish options.
This root vegetable, also known as a turnip, features a bulbous shape with a thick skin. There is a carved Irish Halloween turnip lantern on display at the Museum of Country Life in Ireland that would be certain to frighten anyone in the dark. Although smaller, rutabagas can be carved in a similar fashion as pumpkins, and their gnarly skin makes them all the more frightening. Martha Stewart, who is well known for her love of Halloween, has instructions for carving and hanging these ghoulish little heads in trees so they appear to be floating.
While certainly not traditional, a very ghoulish visage can be carved into the dark green skin of an avocado revealing the lighter green flesh and the red brown nut at its core.
How about a tropical and prickly Pineapple Jack-O’Lantern? It’s hard exterior and soft-fleshy interior will carve as easily as a pumpkin and it’s leafy “hat” will cast a crazy shadow.
Hard-shell gourds are one of the earliest domesticated crops although they are not very edible. Their hard-shell surrounds relatively little soft flesh which quickly dries out within the shell. For this reason, they have been used more as percussion instruments and utensils. Hollowed out gourds also make for long lasting candle lanterns and very artistic patterns can be carved into the exterior shell.