watermelon and pineapple jack 'o' lantern.

Put a spin on the old and make Halloween a tropical fright with a watermelon or pineapple jack 'o' lantern.

Image: Gigi Ortwein

Carving a jack-o'-lantern is to Halloween what decorating the tree is to Christmas–crucial. But who says you need to use a pumpkin? Carving hard-shelled fruits like watermelon or pineapple alternatives is a fun, creative way to give Halloween a dash of Summerween (yeah, that’s a thing). Plus, who likes fishing slippery seeds out of those goopy pumpkin innards, anyway?

The pineapple carving, while sweet and delicious to eat, proved a challenge for me, a first-timer. The textured nature of its outer skin makes it tough to measure facial features, and, without a pineapple corer (does anyone really own one?), the harder center can be a little more challenging to cut out. That's when a sharp knife comes in handy. And beware that paper cut you got last month. The acidic juices from the pineapple will find it and reintroduce its sting, so wearing gloves is a good idea.

Choose the largest pineapple you can find so there’s more room for cutting out eyes and a mouth. Cut off the top and use a knife and spoon to dig out the insides and place in a bowl to eat or use it in one of these 41 recipes from Epicurious.

Tools laid out for carving a pineapple.

You'll need a knife, a spoon, a bowl and some gloves to turn transform your pineapple into a Halloween jack-o'-lantern.

Image: Kim Doleatto

The watermelon, on the other hand proved to be an easy, clean cut and doubled as a fantastic ready-to-eat snack along the way.

tools laid out to carve a watermelon

Watermelons are a great alternative to pumpkins for a jack-o'-lantern.

Image: Kim Doleatto

Start out by cutting off a thin slice of what will be the bottom, so the fruit can sit upright without rolling away. The smooth shell makes it easy to draw your desired face and cut, and a spoon was powerful enough to scoop out the insides. If you want to get fancy, use a dedicated melon ball scooper to create little fuchsia spheres of goodness and save them for dropping into fresh lemonade. Here's are some watermelon recipes from A Couple Cooks for more delicious ideas.

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