Involve kids in pumpkin carving early to start traditions that can last generations. Little kids can help clean goopy seeds from the pumpkin's interior, and older kids can handle simple carving tasks under adult supervision. With a pumpkin stencil this cute, small-handed volunteers shouldn't be hard to find.
1. Carve a circle in the underside of your pumpkin and use a knife to pry it out. Level the cutout with a knife to form a flat surface; you'll use it as a candle platform later.
2. Scoop out all the messy pumpkin guts, and scrape the inside pumpkin flesh thinnest on the side you're planning to carve. Tape your printed stencil pattern to the outside of the pumpkin, smoothing the sheet of paper as you tape.
3. Use a pin tool to poke holes along the stencil lines, keeping pin pricks closely spaced. Remove the paper stencil, but keep it nearby for easy reference.
4. Etch areas on the paper stencil that are surrounded by dotted lines. To etch, use a gouge to remove just the surface skin of the pumpkin, revealing the light-color rind below.
5. Carve areas on the paper stencil that are surrounded by solid lines. Use a serrated knife (like a woodcutting or crafts knife) to cut completely through the pumpkin wall.
6. After completely carving the design, press gently from inside the pumpkin to pop cutouts outward. Rub cut pumpkin surfaces with petroleum jelly to preserve them.
7. Light a candle and place it on the leveled cutout from the bottom of the pumpkin. Set your carved pug pumpkin over the top.