Here is Shawn, digging and scraping out the guts of pumpkin number three. As you'll notice, we opened them up from the bottom this year. We heard it was better from something we were watching on TV. I don't remember the show or what they said was the reason so you'll just have to take my word for it.
After cleaning comes cutting, but before that we need to trace our pattern. Below is the one I chose from the kit we bought a couple years ago. The picture is post-punching.
After cutting out the pieces and anally cleaning up the carving (OCD style), voila, a masterpiece of a pumpkin.
Now take note. This is the first year we encountered the battle with the squirrels. The overpopulated beasts started eating parts of our pumpkins! They weren't even shy about it. They sat on the steps, put piece in hand (claw?) and slowly chewed and devoured our creations. The only good thing I can report is at least they waited until Halloween night. Some of our neighbors were not as lucky. But next year, we'll have to try coating them with something not so tasteful... suggestions welcome. Below is what was left of my pumpkin. People kept asking what is was supposed to be... how disheartening. But, on the bright side, it kind of looks like the person holding the mirror is flipping everyone off. Maybe not everyone, but definitely the squirrels!
Here is Norman's pumpkin that neighbor Woodruffs so kindly volunteered to carve out. Their style was unconventional (staples, scissors, pushpins, etc.) and they may not be back next year, but they did a fine job.
One other very important thing we learned. If your pumpkin starts to shrivel, fill your bathtub with cold water and dunk them in it for about two hours. It's like magic. They come back to life, exactly as they looked when you were done carving. Little tip from the DeBoers to you.