Firstly you must be prepared. Knives are essential (obviously) as is an ice cream scoop. Other sites my advocate power tools but I prefer the hand approach (and I’m not allowed them in the kitchen…).
Firstly cut open the top, remembering to cut at an angle so that the ‘top’, when replaced, doesn’t fall inside the pumpkin.
Then scoop out the insides. This may sound simple but it’s not as a pumpkin has loads of wet gooey stringy pulp inside, doesn’t smell too great, and gets sticky after a while. Cursing is usually involved at this stage, and indeed is encouraged throughout the process.
You should now have an empty pumpkin.
The little notch is to allow the air to circulate when you put a candle inside (you can also carve additional items on the back, if placed correctly they can ‘project’ onto a nearby wall).
It’s a good idea to sketch out your intended design on a sheet of paper and then lightly map the design onto the pumpkin using a biro (it rubs off).
Then it’s time to start carving!
The order you do this is up to you, and probably depends on your design, typically I start with the nose and eyes as everything else (if you are being symmetrical) follows from there.
And that’s it, once you’ve carved your design bung a candle (nightlight) inside, and waft for the … er… lovely aroma of toasting pumpkin to waft through your house.