Keep this flying witch in the air longer by choosing a good-quality pumpkin to carve. Fresh pumpkins have longer porch lives, and testing for pumpkin freshness is easy. Before purchasing, run your hands along the outside of the pumpkin to check for hidden soft spots; your pumpkin should be firm, and there should be no visible blemishes. Another indicator of freshness is a firmly-attached stem, so give the pumpkin's stem a gentle tug to check. Just don't lift the pumpkin by the stem -- you could loosen its attachment, which will cause the pumpkin to rot quicker.
1. Clean out your pumpkin by cutting a circle in the underside of the pumpkin (not the top). Scoop out pumpkin innards with your hands or a metal scoop. (Hint: For an easy candle platform, use a knife to level the circle cut from the bottom of the pumpkin.)
2. Select the side you're planning to carve (look for a flat, smooth side), and scrape the pumpkin's interior wall thinnest on that side. We recommend scraping the pumpkin wall to around 1" thickness for best carving results.
3. Tape the stencil to the side of your pumpkin, and use a push pin to prick holes along the stencil lines. Pierce completely through the paper into the surface of the pumpkin, keeping pin pricks closely spaced. Tear off the stencil after transferring all stencil lines.
4. Carve along the pin pricks, sawing slowly and gently. Keep cutout sections in place until the entire design has been carved, then pop these sections out by pressing lightly from inside the pumpkin.
5. Set a candle on the leveled pumpkin cutout, and place your carved pumpkin over the top.