It is that time of year again where carving pumpkins becomes popular. Follow this guide and you too will have your 15 minutes of fame on the 31st!

Things You Will Need

~Your favorite character or spooky face in stencil form.

~A pumpkin carving saw, household knife and/or pairing knife

~Pushpin, nail, toothpicks or other sharp point


Step 1

Carved Pumpkins Starting the Stencil

1) Print or buy a stencil of you favorite cartoon character or monster. Bonus points if you draw your own. Cut out your stencil with a pair of scissors, leaving a 1-inch gap from the edge of your drawing, on all sides.

2) Tape your stencil or use toothpicks to hold the stencil to the pumpkin. Do this on the side that is the most flat. You will probably have to wrap the sides of the stencil around the pumpkin (since most are round and not a square) for a better fit. This will cause less distortion of your carving.

3) To transfer the stencil design on to the pumpkin, use a pushpin, nail, toothpick or other sharp point and poke holes along the outside lines of your design. Trace the drawing with pokes about half an inch apart. These holes will guide your cuts when the stencil is taken off. For tighter, smaller and more detailed areas, poke holes closer together. This will keep the detail in these areas when you begin carving. On most stencils the part that needs to be cut out will be in black.

4) Take the stencil off the pumpkin carefully. Try not to rip or wrinkle the stencil because you will use it as a reference when you begin carving.

Step 2

Carving Begins

1) Use a pumpkin carving saw for the best results but you can use a household knife or pairing knife.

2) Start by carving through the smallest, most detailed areas first. Follow the dotted lines that you poked out. These surround the areas to be carved out

3) Saw back and forth and make sure you cut completly through the pumpkin. If not, you will not be able to punch out the carved pieces. Try not to bend the saw around corners, just turn the saw slowly as you continue to cut or the saw could break.

4) You can poke your finger into the area to push a cut out piece or poke them out with the end of your saw for very small areas. Make sure you are careful when pushing these pieces out and that they have been fully cut through/out or you might take more of the pumpkin with it then you wanted.

Step 3

Shaving Layers (Advanced)

1) A paring knife or carving chisel works best for shaving away the pumpkin skin. Your cuts should only go a tiny bit into the skin and not all the way through but make sure you cut deep enough that the skin can be later shaved off. Follow your stencil pokes. On most stencils, the parts that need to be shaved will be in grey or light grey depending on how deep you need to shave.

2) Now it's time to remove the skin. When cutting off the skin, use a back and forth motion and slowly shave it off, leaving a layer of flesh. Again, start with the smallest areas and move towards the largest.

3) The best way to make layers is to make U-shaped cuts. Scoop out the flesh with the knife and be careful not to cut all the way through the lighter gray areas.

Always make sure you cut away from yourself and have adult supervision if needed. Hopefully this will help you create something amazing. Have Fun...HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! BOOOOO!!!!

A Typical Stencil.

Tips & Warnings

~Carver's tip: Don't have the stencil to low, have it a couple of inches from the bottom of the pumpkin. This prevents the candle flame from being visible through the finished carving.

~Carver's tip: For medium and advanced stencils, watch where you carve first and that you don't cut out a peice the holds up part of your carving.

~Carver's tip: Make your cuts perpendicular to the pumpkin surface for better lighting results.

~Carver's tip: Cut large areas in half or in quarters with your saw so you can remove them with ease.