Depending on the soil conditions, the depth of the hole, and the width of the dowel, your pumpkin may settle higher or lower on its lollipop pole. When cutting your dowels to size, we recommend allowing a little extra length to keep the pumpkins off the ground if they slide lower on the mounting pole.
1. Download the free Candy This Way stencil patterns and resize them as needed with a photocopier to fit the pumpkins. Tape each pattern onto a pumpkin, smoothing the paper to the pumpkin's surface as you tape.
2. With a needle tool or large nail, pierce along the stencil lines to transfer the pattern to the pumpkin's skin. Keep pin marks close together, ideally within 1/8".
3. Remove the stencils and use a chisel or sharp crafts knife to peel off slivers of pumpkin skin in the areas surrounding the letters. (Hint: Etch deeply enough to reveal the light-color rind below; be careful not to puncture through the pumpkin.) Use a black permanent marker to outline the letters and decorate them with spots and stripes as desired.
4. Saw off the pumpkin stems and set them aside. Flip the pumpkins upside-down and drill a 1/2" hole in each pumpkin's bottom side.
5. Wrap the pumpkins in clear sheets of cellophane, twisting the excess on either side of each pumpkin and securing the twists with ribbon. Cut one slit in the cellophane at the bottom of each pumpkin, directly under the 1/2" drilled hole. Cut a second slit in the cellophane at the top, above the base of the stem. Hot-glue each stem back in place, inserting it through the slit.
6. Cut three 1- to 2-inch-diameter dowels to desired lengths for mounting posts and carve one end of each dowel to a point with a crafts knife. Dig three holes in the ground where you're planning to display the pumpkins and insert each dowel into a hole, blunt-end down. Pack small rocks and dirt around each upright dowel to stabilize it. Wrap black decorative scrapbooking paper around the dowels and embellish them with ribbon.
7. Mount the pumpkins onto the dowels by inserting the pointed end of the dowel through the cellophane slit and into the 1/2" drilled hole, pushing down on each pumpkin to secure it in place.