Irregular pumpkins shine when carved with whimsical or offbeat pumpkin stencils, like the one we used for this toppled-over witch's face. Highlight unusual pumpkin characteristics by working them into the design -- a crooked stem could become a hooked nose, prominent bumps could be warts, and odd indentations could form a cleft chin or cheekbones. Be creative!
1. Cut a circle in what will be the bottom of your finished design. (Hint: Keep in mind that your pumpkin's stem will become the witch's nose, and the finished face will be displayed upside-down!) Reach through the carved opening to pull out the pumpkin's innards, and scrape the pumpkin's inner walls clean with a metal ice cream scoop or scraper tool.
2. Resize the pumpkin stencil with a photocopier to better fit your pumpkin. (Hint: Cut the stencil into two pieces -- one for the eyes and one for the mouth. Arrange them on either side of the pumpkin-stem nose.) Tape the stencil to the outside of the pumpkin, smoothing the paper against the pumpkin as you tape.
3. Pierce along the stencil lines with a push pin or pin tool, marking the lines with closely spaced pin holes. Tear off the pattern after transferring all lines to the pumpkin.
4. Etch the witch's pupils and eye-wrinkles with a gouge, peeling away just enough pumpkin skin to reveal the inner rind. Carve the witch's mouth and the whites of her eyes with a skinny serrated pumpkin-carving knife. Push carved sections out by pressing on them with your fingers from the pumpkin's interior.
5. Wrap two long, sturdy tree branches with red and white duct tape, alternating the colors to imitate stockings.
6. Place a witch hat upside-down on the ground and flatten it slightly. Set your carved pumpkin upside-down on top of the hat.
7. Push the tree-branch legs into the ground (use a trowel to loosen the dirt, if necessary) and add shoes. Drape black fabric around the pumpkin to imitate a cape.