Spread a sheet of newspaper on your work surface.
Then, using the long blade, cut around the stem of the pumpkin to create a lid, making sure to hold the knife at about a 45 degree angle to create a lip so that the inside of the lid will not fall down into the pumpkin cavity. The hole should be big enough so that you can reach your hand inside to scoop out the goop.
Scrape the inside (seeds and stringy membrane) clean with a spoon, making sure that the bottom is as flat as possible, so that a candle can sit upright.
If you are using a stencil, trim off the extra paper around the design, leaving a 1-inch border, and tape it on the face of the pumpkin. Using a nail or poking tool, transfer the design onto the pumpkin. With an X-Acto knife, carefully cut away the design. Need more help? Here are some clear, step-by-step instructions, with pictures, to help you. If you are not using a stencil, then use a permanent marker or crayon to draw a face onto your pumpkin.
Use your paring knife to cut through the lines you made with your X-Acto, making sure you cut through where you need to only, and poke the cut-away pieces out.
After carving, place a votive or small white candle inside the pumpkin on the base. If desired, you can also soak the pumpkin in a bucket of water for about 30 minutes to prevent the pumpkin from shriveling. Let it air dry completely, then rub a small amount of petroleum jelly on the cut areas to keep the edges from drying out before adding the candle.
Invite friends over and host a Pumpkin Planning Party with our guides below:
Click here for our Pumpkin Carving Essentials
Click here to learn how to host a Pumpkin Carving Party
Click here for Halloween-themed snacks for your party
Click here for to be inspired by our Halloween music and decorations ideas