Halloween decorating has become a big business in the past decade. What was once a matter of carving a simple pumpkin and lighting it for a couple of hours on Halloween night has now changed into a multimillion dollar industry. Pumpkin carving is only part of it. Designs on pumpkin faces are now no longer the domain of the lowly jack-o'-lantern. Many people choose to carve multiple pumpkins and create a spooky display for their front walk, along with other decorations. Carving a witch pumpkin is one of dozens of options.
Spread out some newspapers on a table and place the pumpkin on top. Draw a circle around the stem of the pumpkin with a pencil, about 2 inches away from the stem. Cut into the pumpkin with a sharp knife all the way around the stem, using the line as a guide. Using the knife as leverage, remove the top of the pumpkin.
With your hands and the scoop, remove all seeds and pulp from the inside of the pumpkin. Don't leave any stringy bits behind. Scrape the inner walls of the pumpkin, thinning them. This will make carving easier.
Smooth out your witch stencil over the face of the pumpkin. Tape it in place. With the poker tool, make holes about 1/8 of an inch apart along the lines of the stencil, creating a dotted line. Remove the stencil when finished.
Use the carving saws to cut along the dotted line. Go slowly, following the lines as closely as possible. Take frequent rests to survey your work and to avoid muscle strain.
Carefully remove the bits of pumpkin inside the lines you have just carved. Poke them inside the pumpkin, using your fingers or the opposite end of the carving saw. Gather all the bits from inside the pumpkin and discard.
Choose a witch stencil that you like. Pumpkin carving stencils are available in grocery, drug and party decor stores, usually starting in August. If you can't find one that you like in a store, you can download a stencil from a website such as pumpkinlady.com. Select a pumpkin from a local farm or store. A pumpkin that is slightly bigger than the stencil you have chosen will work best. Keep in mind that the general shape of the pumpkin should correspond with the design. For example, a long, skinny-faced witch will look better on a tall, thinner pumpkin. If you are carving more than one pumpkin, consider a cat pattern to go with your witch.
Take care when using pumpkin carving saws. They break if you apply too much force.