Cover your working area with newspaper. This is going to get messy! Then cut the top off the pumpkin. Taper it a bit so that the top doesn't fall down into the pumpkin when done. There are lots of special tools for pumpkin carving. Unfortunately I have given them all of mine to my DD so that the students in her class could carve pumpkins. So, I used a knife, but be careful! Pumpkin 'skin' can be really difficult to cut!
Next, hollow out the pulp and seeds. I used an ice cream scoop. This is a kind of messy step, so get the kids to do it! I don't have any kids and Mimi would not even come to take a look, so I guess I'm on my own.
The seeds are edible and can be roasted in the oven. Just spread them onto a baking sheet and bake at a low temperature for a couple of hours - like 275F. Sprinkle with salt and eat! I decided that I didn't want to eat them this year. (I am trying to cut down on salt) so I put them out for the squirrels. After all, it's Trick or Treat for them too, isn't it?
Draw a face on the outside and cut it out. There are lots of really fancy ideas for spooky Halloween faces out there in cyber space. If you can't decide what your pumpkin should look like, do a web search for ideas. I'm calling my Jack-o-Lantern Herpes because my pumpkin was starting to decay in the corner where his mouth is and it looks like a cold sore to me. But you can do anything you want and call it anything you want. That's the fun part!
Place a light or candle inside the pumpkin and set it outside, or somewhere where it won't catch anything on fire. I just used a little votive candle. And tonight my Jack-o-Lantern will sit outside my door to welcome my Ghoulish visitors!