Traditional candles are beautiful, but where there's fire, there's smoke. If you opt for a flame-lit candle rather than a battery-operated one, you can avoid a potentially hairy situation by carving a chimney hole in your pumpkin. Just carve an additional opening at the top of your pumpkin, ideally in a less-visible area such as behind the stem. This opening allows smoke to escape and extra oxygen to enter, keeping your candle lit.
1. Clean out your pumpkin from the bottom (not the top) by cutting a circle in its underside and spooning out the mushy mass of strings and seeds inside. Flatten the carved pumpkin circle by cutting off its pulpy side with a knife; this will become a candle platform.
2. Tape your printed stencil to the pumpkin's side, smoothing the paper as you tape. Copy the pattern onto the pumpkin's exterior by using a pin tool to pierce holes along the stencil lines. Detach the paper stencil after outlining the design.
3. Cut out the design with a sharp, serrated crafts knife, and pop the carved pieces outward by pressing on them with your fingers. Wipe a thin coat of petroleum jelly along the carved edges to help preserve your pumpkin.
4. Illuminate your design by placing a battery-operated candle on the leveled pumpkin circle and setting the carved pumpkin over it. (Note: If you use a traditional candle, follow our tips above to create a chimney hole.)