Orange pumpkins are a Halloween standard, but don't be afraid to break the mold! Expand your pumpkin-carving horizons by etching gourds with unusual colors and patterns. Look for pumpkins in fall-foliage shades, like vivid reds or yellows, to give this leaf pattern a playful autumn twist.
1. Open up your pumpkin at the bottom by carving a circle in its underside and using your knife as a lever to carefully raise and remove the circle. Cut off the pulpy inside top of the pumpkin circle, creating a flat surface on which to rest your candle. Reach through the pumpkin opening and clear away the innards with a metal spoon or scoop.
2. Position your maple leaf stencil against the pumpkin's side and flatten it against the pumpkin surface, taping it in place as you flatten the paper. Create closely spaced pin holes along the stencil lines by jabbing a pin tool through the paper and into the surface of the pumpkin. Remove the pattern.
3. With a gouge or wide-blade cutter, whittle away at the pumpkin skin outside the pin hole guidelines, scraping off the pumpkin's top layer. (Hint: Shine a small flashlight through the pumpkin wall to determine how much light can penetrate the etched sections. Scrape away enough pumpkin rind to allow some light through, but be careful not to penetrate the pumpkin wall completely.)
4. Place a bright battery-operated candle on your prepared pumpkin circle, and set your etched pumpkin over the top.