After seven+ years as a journalist, having my byline in the newspaper doesn't faze me. My first clip--a story about couples who met through their dogs--was published in The Boston Globe back in 2001, and that was quite a thrill. But I quickly realized that my byline is there for only one reason--so people know who to call when they're grumpy.
The first step is to find a simple drawing of an image and either print it out or photocopy it. Consider nature-inspired drawings of leaves or animals, such as squirrels or owls.
Clip art programs and coloring books are good sources of images because their drawings usually have simple lines. There are several free coloring books online, including at familycrafts.about.com.
For this project, purchase a pumpkin that’s big enough to accommodate your drawing and that doesn’t have deep grooves. Wash and dry your pumpkin before beginning.
Next, cut a circle out of the bottom of your pumpkin or on top around the stem and scrape the pumpkin’s inside clean. Pay special attention to where you plan to scrape your image. Because you will be removing a shallow layer of the pumpkin instead of carving all the way through the pulp, you’ll want a fairly thin wall for the best illumination.
Now pin your paper image to the outside of the pumpkin using a few pushpins.
Using another pushpin, puncture through the paper along the drawing’s lines. You will be transferring the picture from the paper to the pumpkin by poking hundreds of small holes very close together. Resist the urge to peek behind the paper as you go, which could shift your template and distort your image.
Once you’ve traced the entire drawing, remove the paper and discard it. Using a small scraping tool, such as the puncture tool on a wine key or can opener, carefully scrape away the pumpkin’s skin along the dotted lines. If you don’t already have a suitable tool in your kitchen, retailers sell pumpkin carving sets.
Once all the lines are scraped, rub petroleum jelly on your pumpkin to make your carving last longer.
Finally, carve a hole, about 1 inch by 1 inch, on the back of the pumpkin to allow oxygen to reach the candles. Light two candles then fit the pumpkin over the top of them or place the candles inside the pumpkin if you cut a hole around the pumpkin’s stem instead of its bottom.