Little etching details (like the crosshatched caps on those darling acorn lids) look best on a flat surface free from lumps and deep pumpkin ridges. When you're selecting a pumpkin for carving, look for at least one smooth side for carving, as well as a flat underside to keep your carved creation stationary.
1. Print out our free oak leaves and acorns pattern, and if necessary, reduce or enlarge the pattern with a copier to better fit your pumpkin. Flatten the pattern against the side of your cleaned-out pumpkin and tape it down, keeping the paper as smooth as you can.
2. Pierce along the stencil lines with a wooden skewer or needle tool, outlining the design elements with tightly spaced holes. (Editor's tip: For best results, keep pin holes within 1/8 inch of each other.) Tear off the pattern once you've duplicated all stencil lines onto the pumpkin surface.
3. Etch around the leaves and acorns with a chisel or power etching tool, removing just the top layer of pumpkin skin. To give your leaves and acorns a soft backlit glow, place a bright battery-operated candle inside the pumpkin cavity.