With the preparations for Halloween fancy dress parties now underway in earnest, it could be the perfect time to get hold of a pumpkin or two and carve them to create jack o'lanterns.

Once you've selected your specimens, Pumpkin Carving 101 recommends using a very sharp kitchen knife to make the initial hole in the top and then a paring knife for detail work.

It could be a good idea to have a look around for some templates if you want more complex designs or you simply want to be accurate - you can then use a poking tool or charcoal pencil to guide you around where to holes should go.

You can then use a cutting saw and a sharp-edged spoon to scoop out all the flesh from the inside.

It's best to put your pumpkins in a cool place until you need the, preferably a fridge or freezer, as this will stop them shrivelling up. Then, all you need to do is get them out, put in a light such as a votive candle or an LED tealight and you've got the ultimate Halloween decoration!

Don't forget to save the flesh and seeds until tomorrow, when you can create edible goodies for your Halloween fancy dress party.