I’ve made many jack-o-lanterns out of real pumpkins. This time I tried out carving a fake one, thinking it would be just the same. It is in some ways, but the material in fake pumpkins is harder than real ones. Cutting the hard, hollow pumpkin is more akin to carving wood. The consistency is a blend of foam and smooth plastic. I had thought it was going to be more like the squishiness of stress balls.
Exacto knives are not going to cut it (har har). You can slice the surface with small scalpel blades, but for actual cutting, you will need a very sturdy box cutter or wood carving knife. I found it very hard to shape the cuts, they wanted to go in straight lines. Small cuts were also very difficult due to the tools I had. I did have small saws from a pumpkin carving kit, but they only work after a piece has been cut out.
Find a good stencil, there are thousands online to choose from, and tape the stencil on your pumpkin. Use a pin to punch holes along your design lines, then take off the stencil. The pinpricks will be faint, and hardly noticeable if you decide to slightly change the lines.
The pumpkin left something like sawdust on everything. To clean out the inside of your work, you could use canned air.
When your work is done, toss in a fake candle (real candles are a bad idea). While this was fun, I think I want to go back to real pumpkins, and not just because I love roasted pumpkin seeds.