Pick a fresh pumpkin. Often, you can go to a field nearby and actually pick this, or you can get one at a local store. Pick one that you like. Short and fat, tall and skinny, it’s totally up to you. Depending on the variety, pumpkins can range in size anywhere from very small to gigantic. Inspect the pumpkin carefully for bruises, soft spots or any indications of mould or mildew.
Carved pumpkins can go bad after two weeks. Carve your pumpkin only a few days before Halloween or it may start to shrivel up and cave in.
Carving pumpkins don't necessarily make great eating pumpkins. So although it is suggested that you could make pumpkin pie, it probably wouldn’t be as tasty as you would like it to be. However, you can save the seeds to roast and eat later or give to the birds. You can also save them to maybe plant next year and grow your own pumpkin.
Carve your pumpkin where you will be comfortable - sitting at table, standing over it, or holding it in your lap.
Cut the lid first, a hexagonal cut rather than circular cut helps keep the lid from falling into the pumpkin as the pumpkin lid begins to dry out and shrink. Always draw the shape of your lid very lightly with a water based marker, so that you can wash it off later.
Remember to cut the lid hole large enough so that you will be able to reach into it with your hand and the long-handled spoon, and so that you will have enough room to place a lighting device inside it too.
Cut a small chimney hole in the lid to let the heat and smoke from the candle escape.
Remove the pulp and seeds from the inside of the pumpkin and wipe down the outside to remove all debris.
Halloween pumpkin carving is no longer just cutting some eyes and a mouth. Now you can carve sophisticated designs with the use of pumpkin kits developed by some very creative people. You can also find free printable Pumpkin patterns online, so have a look around.
Pin or tape your chosen pattern onto your pumpkin and cut out the black areas of the pumpkin pattern, and then tape the pattern to the pumpkin. Using a sharp tool press rows of ‘dots’ along the features of the pattern. On large designs you can use the larger poker and place the dots farther apart, but for detailed designs, use the small poker and place the dots close together. Remove the pattern when you have done this stage but do not discard it, but use if as reference as to how the design should look.
To carve your pumpkin simply cut along the dots like a ‘dot to dot’ puzzle. Cut out the traced areas starting with the smallest areas first. For small round holes it is easier if you use a borer.
Remember to cut away from yourself and into the pumpkin. After each feature has been cut out slowly push out the cut pieces from inside the pumpkin.
Finally, coat the inside and exposed edges with petroleum jelly or a spray-on preserver like PumpkinFresh.com to help your Jack O' Lantern last as long as possible.
Decorate you pumpkin with fake spiders or draw a spider on the pumpkin with a black marker pen.