Food Network Stars' Pumpkin-Carving Contest

Food Network Magazine's Halloween pumpkin-carving contest.

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009

Photo By: Marko Metzinger/Studio D ©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009

©Hearst Communications Inc., 2009

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Photo By: Levi Brown

Best Use of a Flaw: Ellie Krieger

After purposely picking out a pumpkin with a big ol' dent, Ellie laid it on its side and let the stem stand in for a nose. "I let the pumpkin speak to me!" she said. Tools: knife, pencil

Best Hairdo: Robert Irvine

On Dinner: Impossible, Robert often makes emergency stops for last-minute supplies, and he did the same to salvage his jack-o'-lantern. When his plan to use foam as hair didn't work out, he ran to a costume shop for a wig: "I hit a few bumps, but I worked around them." Tools: knife, paint, pencil, wig, scissors, glue, toothpicks

Best Update on a Classic: Sandra Lee

The Semi-Homemade Cooking host is famous for her over-the-top Halloween episodes: She has dressed up as Cher, Madonna, even Marilyn Monroe (catch this year's costume October 24 at 11:30 a.m. ET). But she kept this pumpkin simple, glamming it up with long eyelashes. Tool: knife

Best Use of Power Tools: Ted Allen

Ted couldn't resist breaking out his blowtorch and drill for this project. His inspiration: "More Jack Bauer than Martha Stewart." He "drew" hair by burning the top with a torch and made eyeballs and pupils with drill bits. Then he stuffed the mouth with "sad-looking veggies from the crisper." Appropriately, the Chopped host finished off his creation with a cleaver. Tools: blowtorch, drill, knife, cleaver

Most Kid-Friendly: Melissa d'Arabian

As the mother of four girls under the age of 5, the Ten Dollar Dinners host took pains to make her pumpkin as un-scary as possible. She drew on big eyelashes, made a candy-corn tiara and even wrapped a rubber band around the stem to make a ponytail. "She's a princess!" Melissa said. "My girls will love this." Tools: knife, toothpicks, rubber band, marker

Most Nostalgic: Aida Mollenkamp

As a child of the '80s, Aida logged plenty of hours playing video games, so she was able to sketch this Pac-Man ghost freehand. "I was really into Space Invaders," she says. "But Pac-Man felt right for Halloween." Tools: knife, pencil

Most Evil-Looking: Aaron Sanchez

The scrap piece hanging from this pumpkin's mouth started off as a cigar, but then the chef came up with a better story: "He’s Pepe, the cannibal pumpkin. Watch out! He feasts on other pumpkins." Tools: knife, pencil, toothpicks

Silver-Screen Scream: Sunny Anderson

Sunny Anderson saw our pumpkin-carving feature last year and jokingly disapproved of one star’s sweet, kid-friendly creation. “We can’t have a prissy Halloween,” the Cooking for Real host said. Sunny, a huge movie buff, looked to The Shining for inspiration: She printed a stencil of Jack Nicholson’s creepy character from the film, painted her pumpkin black, then carved “REDRUM” by—what else?—hacking into the flesh with a sharp knife. Tools: paint roller, nontoxic black paint, tape, stencil, paring knife

Supersize Burger: Claire Robinson

Claire Robinson had burgers on the brain when she showed up to carve, so she couldn’t resist turning her pumpkin into a deluxe cheeseburger. “Burgers are my favorite,” the 5 Ingredient Fix host says. She cut off the stem, sliced the pumpkin in half and arranged lettuce, burger patties, cheese and tomatoes between the halves. Her finishing touch: gluing pumpkin seeds to the “bun.” Tools: knife, lettuce, hamburger patties, cheese, tomatoes, superglue

Lovely Lioness: Aarti Sequeira

Growing up in Dubai, Aarti Sequeira never celebrated Halloween. In fact, she had carved a pumpkin only once before we asked her to do this one. “I’ve been practicing all week,” she said when she arrived at the studio. She has been obsessed with lions lately, so the Aarti Party star turned her pumpkin into a friendly jungle cat. For a personal touch, she finished it off with one of her signature flower hairpins. Tools: knives, felt flowers

Flickering Mask: Anne Burrell

On Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Anne Burrell always has a plan, but she came to this pumpkin-carving session without one. She eventually decided to make a mask with strategic cutouts and slits so the light from the candle inside could flicker through. “I don’t know if it’s a man or a woman,” she said midway through the project before finally clarifying the gender with a mustache. Photographs by Levi Brown

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