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Kim Carney/MSNBC.com
updated 9/18/2008 12:39:30 PM ET 2008-09-18T16:39:30

Gather your pumpkins and your working tools for some imaginative and creative ways to add lots of spirit to the holiday. Martha Stewart shares clever and fun Halloween decorating ideas:

Pumpkin lollipop holder
Silhouetted in an open door, a pumpkin spiked with orange- and chocolate-flavored lollipops resembles a folk-art Sputnik. A paper bat hovers over the mysterious pod, inviting passersby to enjoy the mischievous illusion — the pumpkin is carved from synthetic foam — before helping themselves to a treat.

For this project, it's best to use a synthetic foam pumpkin. (The moisture found in real pumpkin flesh will turn the lollipops' paper sticks soggy.)

1. Cover every other rib with low-tack masking tape, and then, using a flexible tape measure, make dots every 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches down the side of the pumpkin. Punch through dots with an awl, or use a power drill with a 9/64-inch bit; remove tape.

2. Fill holes with orange and chocolate-flavored pops, alternating flavors from one rib to the next and keeping sticks a uniform length to maintain the spherical shape. Top with a black paper bat bearing a message in opaque ink; place pumpkin on a table outside your front door and in a sheltered spot.

Pumpkin snake

Tools and materials
Pumpkins
Small utility saw
Large-bulb white Christmas lights
Plastic pumpkin-carving scoop, drill with borer tool and 3/4-inch and 1-inch bits
Felt-tip pen; utility knife
Extension cord

Decide how long you want your pumpkin snake to be, and choose pumpkins in a variety of sizes, from large to small, to simulate the body of a snake. Choose a big, elongated pumpkin for the head.

Using the utility saw, cut a hole in the top and bottom of the first “body” pumpkin. One hole should be about fist-size, in order for you to reach your hand in and remove the seeds, and the other just big enough for a string of lights to pass through.

Hollow out the insides of the pumpkin with the scoop.

Drill a series of holes into the sides of the pumpkin, varying the size of the bits. When drilling the larger holes, you don't have to puncture all the way through the flesh; the light will glow through partly drilled holes. Repeat with all pumpkins except for the head.

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Set the pumpkin head on its side, so that the elongated shape can form the jaw of the snake. Draw a serpent face with long fangs around the stem of the pumpkin (which you should remove when you cut out the mouth), using a felt-tip marker. Cut out the eyes and mouth with the small saw. With a fine-tip utility knife, carve out other snake features, such as nostrils.

Once you have cleaned and drilled all your pumpkins, arrange them in a snaking line. Starting with the head (which should be farthest from the house), pass the string of lights through the holes at each end of the pumpkins (the larger pumpkins may require two to three lights; the smaller pumpkins near the tail, just one). You may need an extension cord to reach an electrical outlet.

For more helpful Halloween tips and ideas, visit MarthaStewart.com.

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