Save yourself the trouble of tracing with this quick hack! Rather than piercing along the star outlines, just press a metal star-shaped cookie cutter firmly into the side of your pumpkin. (Look for cookie cutters that are about the same size as the stars on the stencil, but don't worry about finding a perfect match.) Use a mallet to tap on the cookie cutter until it pierces the pumpkin shell, then remove the cutout center. Repeat as needed to create your starry sky.
1. Sign in to BHG.com to download our free stencil pattern, and print it out. If necessary, reduce or enlarge the pattern with a photocopier to create a custom fit for your pumpkin.
2. Clean the interior of your pumpkin by carving a circle in its bottom (not the top) and scraping out all the seeds and fibrous, stringy bits with a scraper tool. On the side of the pumpkin that you're planning to carve, scrape the pumpkin pulp until it is approximately 1 inch thick.
3. Tape the printed pattern against the side of your pumpkin and transfer the pattern onto the pumpkin skin by piercing along the stencil lines with a push pin. Keep pin holes within 1/8 inch apart for best results. Detach the stencil pattern carefully and keep it handy.
4. Carve the moon shape and star shapes with a skinny serrated crafts knife by gently sawing along the pin-hole guidelines. After you've carved the entire design, reach into the pumpkin and press on the cutout sections with your fingers, nudging them out.
5. Using the stencil pattern as a guide for size and placement, draw the bats on the pumpkin with a black permanent marker. Light up your nighttime scene by placing a battery-operated candle inside the pumpkin.