Carving Pumpkins and other cool things
Okay I posted some patterns, I found for Pumpkin Carving in PDF form on Slippy's. If you like you may go there to "download them" to use.
Here are the others I have found too. See attached.
Tips for choosing a pumpkin, etc. for 1st timers:
Choosing a pumpkin
Choose a pumpkin that is the same shape as the design you wish to carve. Decide if it should be tall and narrow, or more rounded. It should be as smooth as possible, and free of scratches, dents or gouges.
Transferring your design
To make the dots you made by poking easier to see, try rubbing flour into them. The flour will fill the holes, making them white.
Some people have difficulty smoothing the flat paper pattern down on the round pumpkin. Try soaking the paper with water first. Very carefully position the wet paper on the face of the pumpkin. The water will allow the paper to conform to the contours of the pumpkin. Carefully fasten the paper using thumbtacks. You can also try adding a little flour to the water to make a "paste." Allow the paper to completely dry, before attempting to transfer the design. This method takes much longer, but it is much easier to transfer complicated designs.
Another (and less environmentally friendly) way is to put carbon paper on the back of the pattern and trace over the lines with a dull pencil. If the lines are barely visible, go over with a water-based marker.
Try using small lamp oil-burning liquid candles. They tend to last longer than the traditional wax candles, and do not snuff themselves out.
Try hanging your creations in plant hangers. This will make them easier to see, and help keep "trick-or-treaters" from catching their costumes on fire! This will also keep those troublesome little squirrels from attacking and destroying your hard work.
Take care of your carving tools, just as you would any other precision instrument. Bending the blades will cause them to break. Be sure to clean your tools after use, and store them away for watermelon carving next Summer!
When I was a kid in Berkeley CA, a Halloween jack-o-lantern would last about two weeks just sitting out on the front porch. Now, 40 years later in (warmer) San Leandro, they barely last a week. I'm definitely going to try the bleach trick described below.