1. Picking Your Pumpkin
Never lift a pumpkin by its stem. Don't do it! It can snap off easily, and two things will happen: the pumpkin will hit your feet like a bowling ball, and it'll rot much faster.
Next, check that the skin is free of blemishes, bruises, or any visible damage.
Finally, like a good melon, a pumpkin should feel heavy for its size.
2. Set Up Your Station
Plenty of newspaper to line your table with. Slimy pumpkin innards have a habit of getting on everything.
A few bowls of various sizes for storing things like guts, seeds, and cut-outs.
A few different knives. A small chef's knife for cutting out the top, and a couple of sturdy, sharp-tipped paring knives are good, though in a pinch, very basic designs can be cut out with just the chef's knife.
A waterproof pen for mapping out your design before you begin carving.
3. Cut The Lid
Cut off the top of the pumpkin, making sure to cut it wide enough to give you room to scrape out the inside easily later. To make it easy to figure out how to orient the lid later on, make sure to cut out a triangular notch along one side. If you plan on using a candle instead of an electric light, you might also consider cutting out a chimney hole to allow oxygen in and smoke to escape.
5. Spoon It
6. Plan Your Design
Robyn here has decided to go with the classic triangle-eyed, snaggle-toothed look.