If carving teensy polka dots with a serrated woodcutting knife isn't your idea of a good time, grab your electric drill and let's talk. It's easy to create uniform pumpkin holes with a drill: Just select a drill bit in a comparable width to the polka-dot size, then fit the bit onto your drill and bore gently through the side of the pumpkin. Repeat as necessary to create additional polka dots.
1. Print out your cute owl pattern, and secure it to the side of your cleaned-and-scraped pumpkin with tape. (Hint: Smooth the paper against the side of the pumpkin as you tape; this will make tracing the pattern easier!)
2. Trace the owl pattern onto your pumpkin's skin by jabbing along stencil lines with a large nail or needle tool, keeping needle holes about 1/8" apart. Carefully pull off the pattern, and keep it handy.
3. Etch areas within dotted lines on your stencil. (Hint: Etch sections near the center of your design first, and work your way outward.) To etch, use a power etching tool or gouge to peel off the pumpkin skin, exposing the light color rind below.
4. Carve areas within dotted lines on your stencil with a specialty pumpkin-carving knife or a skinny linoleum-cutting knife. (Hint: Carve sections near the center of your design first, and work your way outward.) Allow carved pieces to remain in place until you've finished cutting all sections. (Note: If desired, drill polka dots by following our tips above.)
5. Gently nudge carved pieces out of position by pressing on them from inside the pumpkin, popping them out.
6. Add a bright LED candle to your pumpkin's central cavity to illuminate your cute owl.