Here's some step by step instructions on how to make a Harry Potter pumpkin carving for Halloween ... and how you can make it better than the way mine turned out ... an epic fail.
Step 1: Trace the Harry Potter Lettering
The way we did it was just get the Harry Potter lettering from Google images and traced it on the iPad. Just be careful not to let your hand touch the paper as you're tracing because the screen will move, even through the paper. Don't worry about making the tracing absolutely perfect. Especially if you're tracing on a screen, do it lightly.
Avoid the Epic Fail: Our tracing of the Harry Potter words were pretty small (it was on the iPad screen after all). Try to space each letter apart and maybe make them bigger. Because we didn't give this a thought, we had some pumpkin space between each carved letter falling out (see main picture). But don't make the words so big that it won't fit on the side of your pumpkin.
Step 2: Carve Out the Top of the Pumpkin
Get your pumpkin and carve out the top in a circlar shape. Our pumpkin carving set are just a couple of cheap plastic tools, but this tiny saw worked pretty well. Any old bread knife should do the job.
Avoid the Epic Fail: We all learn from first tries. I found that trying to empty the pumpkin out and scrape the seeds out was harder because I carved the top out too small. Make the circle around the stem BIGGER and try to picture reaching your hand into the top to scrape out the seeds. Yeah, you might need it bigger, depending on your preferences.
Step 3: Scrape Out the Seeds
This is the funnest and messiest part! See how small the hole is in the picture? It was a little hard to scrape out everything and it took a while, but it got done. I used a small, plastic scraper that came in the cheap pumpkin carving kit, but a large spoon or a metal pasta spatula should work just as well or better.
Avoid the Epic Fail: The reason why the pumpkin around the letters fell out on our pumpkin was probably because of scraping out so much that that side of the pumpkin we carved was too thin. The thicker the better, though it might be a little harder to carve. However, the right tools (if you have a real pumpkin carving set) will definitely do the job, no matter how small, big, thick, or thin your pumpkin is.
Step 4: Tape the Harry Potter Letter Tracing Onto the Pumpkin
Take you tracing of the Harry Potter letters and cut out the word HARRY. Tape that piece on the top part of the pumpkin where you want to carve. Don't worry if the paper scrunches up, this part just takes a lot of concentration in putting the tape right. We had to cut out the H separately, so you might have to do that too.
Avoid the Epic Fail: The larger the pumpkin, the easier this is (our pumpkin was small).
Step 5: Take a Nail and Poke Small Holes Onto the Tracing
We used a nail (anything else you think would be better should work) to poke holes through the lines on the paper and into the pumpkin. That way, you can take the paper off and carve where the holes are.
Avoid the Epic Fail: Don't poke the holes too far down into the pumpkin, just enough so that you can see the holes once you take the paper off the pumpkin. Just remember, you're not carving here, just marking where you're going to carve.
Step 6: Do the Same With the POTTER Words, Below the HARRY. Ta-da!
Step 7: Start Carving
Again, we used the little pastic carving tool and carved out the Harry Potter in the pumpkin, following the holes we poke in so that we knew where to carve.
Avoid the Epic Fail: This was the hardest part, as the tool we used for this was cheap and very small. My sister worked on this with me and even with two people going, by the time I was halfway through, my thumb was hurting and stiff. Use a knife, or anything you think would be better for carving (preferably, a real pumpkin carver) and it should be good.
Step 8: The Epic Finish
As you can see, the main picture for this Instructable was taken a couple days after I took this one. The pumpkin was in better shape for this picture, but the space in between the letters were so thin, they eventually fell off. Yours should look much better! Happy Carving to you.