full sheet of label paper
sharp utility knife
ice cream scoop or large spoon
thin chisel or flathead screwdriver and carving saw (optional)
Step 1: Preparing the template
Make a template in your computer.
Print the template in black and white.
Step 2: Preparing the pumpkin
Choose a pumpkin that has no bruises or cracks. The smoother the skin of the pumpkin, the easier it will be to carve. And always choose a ripe pumpkin; they are uniformly orange.
Wipe the pumpkin with a soft, wet cloth to remove any dirt.
Prepare your work area by covering the surface with a few layers of newspaper. Cleanup will be easier later.
Using a sharp knife or carving saw, cut a hole around the stem of the pumpkin large enough to get your hand and a large spoon inside. Be sure to cut on an angle to keep the lid from falling into the pumpkin.
Use the spoon to scrape the inside walls clean. Remember: the thinner the walls, the easier the carving. Be sure the bottom wall is level for your votive.
Step 3: Applying the template
Once you’ve printed your template, cut out the black areas with a sharp utility knife. You can use toothpicks to affix the template (after the black areas had been removed) to the pumpkin. Use the template as a guide to do the draw with a permanent pencil.
Step 4: Carving the pumpkin
Cut around the draw with a sharp utility knife. For finer details, we found that a small chisel or flathead screwdriver worked much better than a knife — just carve away at the pumpkin, instead of slicing through it.
Carve slowly. Leave yourself enough time to properly carve the pumpkin, because rushing is asking for an accident to happen.
Once you’ve finished your masterpiece, insert a votive candle or a flashlight and light up the Halloween night.