Before you start carving, cover your working surface with newspaper and put on your apron. Then:
1. Use the pencil or marker to draw a circle around the pumpkin's stem. This will be the jack-o'-lantern's lid. The circle should be about two-thirds the diameter of the pumpkin. It's a good idea to include a small notch in the circle to help you align the lid correctly when you replace it. You can also use another shape for your lid, like a star or a hexagon. Some people prefer to cut a lid from the bottom rather than the top, since this can make it easier to replace and light candles.
2. Cut along the line using the boning knife. Point the knife inward (toward the center of the pumpkin) at about a 45-degree angle. This will keep the lid from falling down into the pumpkin.
3. Remove the lid from the pumpkin and cut or scrape away any pulp that is hanging from it.