Select a pumpkin that is ripe, has no bruises, cuts or nicks. Do not carry a pumpkin by its stem; it may break, and do not bruise it as it will not last as long. For easy cleanup, place your pumpkin on several layers of newspaper before carving. Kids: have a parent or other adult cut a circle around the stem of the pumpkin for you. They should use a sharp knife with long, sturdy blade for best and safest results. Or, you can do it yourself with a safer, plastic "pumpkin carving" knife available at many supermarkets during the pumpkin season. Parents: knives are very sharp, so make sure that the proper supervision is maintained when the children carve their pumpkins.

Make sure the hole is large enough to reach in and pull out the seeds and stringy membrane. The bottom of the pumpkin could also be cut off instead, this will allow the pumpkin to sit up straight and make removing the seeds easier! When cleaning out the pumpkin, use an old soup ladle to get out the seeds. Try carving a giant pumpkin, it is easier to carve than a regular pumpkin.

Examine your pumpkin to determine the best place to carve his or her face. Draw an outline of a face on a plain sheet of white paper (use simple bold features), or print one of our handy Jack O'Lantern templates (Below on this page - click on any of the images to go to the full-sized print-ready template). Tape your paper to the pumpkin where you want the face to be. Score the design onto the pumpkin by punching through the paper into the pumpkin with a large nail or pin.

Carefully cut out the design following the holes that were "punched" with your plastic knife. When you are finished cutting, simply push out the pieces to view the final results. Now you're all set to light up your home on Halloween night! Have Fun!

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