There's a reason we recommend carving your pumpkin from the bottom: It allows you to create a built-in candle platform. After removing the circular underside of the pumpkin, create a flat surface by leveling off the pulpy side of the circle with your knife. When you finish carving your pumpkin, set a bright LED candle on the flat cutout surface, then place your carved pumpkin over the top. Step back to admire your handiwork and allow yourself one self-satisfied smile.
1. Clean out your pumpkin from the bottom, following our directions in the stencil caption, above, to create a candle platform. Spoon out the interior seeds and guts with an ice cream scoop, and scrape along the pumpkin walls to clear off any clinging bits. (Hint: For easier carving, thin out the pumpkin inside the area you're intending to carve; we recommend scraping the pumpkin wall until it measures about 1" thick.)
2. Stick the pattern to the side of your pumpkin, smoothing it down with your hands and securing it in place with clear tape. Duplicate the pattern onto your pumpkin by piercing along the stencil lines with a needle tool; keep needle holes about 1/8" apart for most-detailed results.
3. Take down the stencil, and cut out the design on the pumpkin by sawing along the needle holes with a serrated woodcutting or crafts knife. Press on cutout sections to dislodge them.
4. Wipe the pumpkin's carved edges with petroleum jelly and light up your design.