Based on my experiences with etching the monogrammed pumpkins, I wanted to share a few pumpkin carving tips with you.
1. Toothpicks are your friend.
If you make an errant cut or slice, piece the pumpkin back together with toothpicks. No one will notice.
2. Cut the bottom of your pumpkin to make it stand correctly.
Does your pumpkin have a lumpy bottom causing it to wobble or lean? Make it stay in place by slicing off part of the bottom to give it a flat surface.
3. Get creative with items you have around your house.
Stencils and cookie cutters can be used to help you design your carved pumpkin. Trace the design and then cut.
4. Use both sides of the pumpkin.
If you're carving only one side of the pumpkin, then you are wasting at least half of that boo-tiful canvas. Put something on the front and back. Keep in mind that if you put the back of the pumpkin against a hard surface, such as your house, the design carved on the back can make some great shadows on the wall.
Here's the front of my Little Guy's pumpkin:
Here's the design for the back:
5. Use petroleum jelly to prolong the life of your carved pumpkin.
Spread petroleum jelly on the cut parts that are exposed to air. This will slow the decay process and keep your design looking fresher for longer. Only coat the cuts involved in your design; there's no need to put goop on the inside cavity of the pumpkin.
Have fun carving those pumpkins, and have a very happy, fun and safe Halloween!