I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the same old jack-o-lanterns. Scary faces on a pumpkin with a candle inside are a bit boring. I’m ready for something new this year-something different and fresh. So, to help you and me get out of the jack-o-lantern rut, I’ve put together a few creative ideas for us (with the help of the Internet.)

Turn your pumpkin into a work of art. This year instead of carving your pumpkin, paint it. If you’re not the free-hand type, use a stencil. You can make it as ornate, or as simple, as you want it to be. I love just painting funny faces on my pumpkins. There is a lot less mess when you don’t have to gut it out.

Put your pumpkin some place unexpected. Place your pumpkins in a tree in the front yard, put one on your mailbox or fence post. Place carved pumpkins in your unused fireplace or on a book shelf. Be creative. Pumpkins don’t have to just sit on the front porch.

Carve out a word or saying with your pumpkins. Carve a letter out of each pumpkin. You can spell out “Trick or treat” or (if you have lots of time and pumpkins) “Happy Halloween.” These are really great when they are lit at night.

Use your pumpkin as a table decoration. You can carve out your pumpkin and then place fresh flowers inside to create a festive fall vase. This is great for a table centerpiece at a dinner party. You can also use mini pumpkins as place card holders too, just by using a knife to make a slit in the stem of the pumpkin to hold the name cards.

Turn your pumpkin into a photo prop. This is great to do when your kids are babies and toddlers. Just hollow out a pumpkin and place your little one inside. Sleeping babies inside pumpkins are cute enough to eat. Pictures of your toddler in a pumpkin patch are priceless.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.