Pumpkins come in a wide range of hues and patterns, so don't limit yourself to plain ol' orange! Look for eye-catching varieties at farms and farmers markets; we love gray Jarrahdales, creamy-white Luminas, and orange-dappled One Too Many pumpkins.
1. Clean your pumpkin by cutting a circle in its underside and removing all the seeds and guts with a stiff metal scoop. (Note: If you're planning to etch your monogram onto your pumpkin rather than carve it, there's no need to clean out the pumpkin's interior.)
2. Print out your monogram stencil. (Hint: If your pumpkin is too large or small for the design, resize the stencil with a photocopier to better fit your pumpkin.) Attach the stencil to the side of your pumpkin with clear tape.
3. Jab along the outline of the letter with a needle tool, piercing both the paper and the pumpkin skin below. For best results, keep needle holes within 1/8" of each other.
4. Tear off the stencil, and carve or etch the design into the side of your pumpkin. (Note: For best results, we recommend etching letters that contain interior spaces, such as "A" or "B.") To carve, saw gently along the needle holes with a sharp, serrated woodcutting knife; pop out the cutout letter piece by pressing on it from inside the pumpkin. To etch, whittle away slivers of pumpkin skin from the stencil area with a gouge or electric etching tool, being careful not to puncture through the pumpkin wall.
5. If desired, illuminate your design by placing a battery-operated candle inside your pumpkin.