When it comes to pumpkin selection, the nose knows. Pumpkins that are rotten internally will have a distinct (quite nasty) smell, and you may feel liquid sloshing around internally if you pick up the pumpkin. Look for neutral-smelling pumpkins that feel solid and weighty.
1. Smooth your printed stencil against the outside of your cleaned-out pumpkin, making the paper as flush against the pumpkin surface as possible. Tape the paper in place.
2. Copy the stencil pattern onto your pumpkin by marking the stencil lines with a needle tool. To mark the lines, create tightly spaced holes along the outline of the design, piercing both the paper and the pumpkin skin. (Hint: For most-detailed results, space holes about 1/8 inch apart.)
3. Take off the printed stencil, and use a skinny wood-cutting knife to carve along the holes. (Hint: For less risk of breakage, carve sections from the center of your design outward.)
4. Gently push against carved sections from inside the pumpkin, nudging them outward and revealing your design. Apply a coat of petroleum jelly along all carved surfaces, and light your pumpkin with a battery-operated candle, if desired.