Re-posted from the blog. See original version.

Every day at the Energy Department, we work to make America more competitive in the global clean energy race and help communities save energy and money. That can mean anything from offering tips about energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy, or preparing the next generation of Americans for the clean energy workforce.

But while home weatherization, alternative fuels, and tax credits for energy efficiency are exciting conversation starters here at the Energy Department, we understand these aren’t always the easiest discussions to have at the next neighborhood block party. But what are great conversation starters? Jack-o-lanterns!

So on that note, we proudly announce the 2011 Energy Department Pumpkin Carving Contest. With just a few days left until Halloween, we’re asking you to send us your best energy-themed jack-o-lantern ideas. The more creative, the better! What better way to start a conversation with your friends about efficiency, science and innovation or the future of renewable energy than by carving a pumpkin to look like a state-of-the-art battery or novel hydropower turbine?

To help you get started carving an energy-themed pumpkin, we've created a few patterns available for download below:

But don't feel like you have to stop with those stencils! There is so much more that we do here at Energy. If you could depict any Energy-related project on your pumpkin, what would it be? A technology developed at one of the National Labs? Or an innovation funded through the Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E)? You decide, and send us your ideas and photos through email, Facebook or Twitter.

We will feature a few of the submissions we receive here on next week. And remember — working with any sharp tools should always be done with adult supervision, and avoid leaving burning candles unattended after your masterpiece is finished and on display.

Good luck and have fun!