For this method you will need:
a large knife
a large spoon
a large bowl
a baking pan with 1" sides large enough to hold your pumpkin when cut in half
workspace (a bit of countertop is handy)
about an hour and a half - with nearly 50 minutes of that available to do other things.
a way to dispose of the scrap (guts and skins)
a couple of paper towels or small container (for holding seeds)
a dishtowel (for creating a non-skid surface on the counter)
Step 1: Step One - Find Yourself a Pumpkin
Step 2: Step Two - Inspect and Bathe Your Gourd
Now that your pumpkin is mostly clean and free of ick, it's time for the next step!
Step 3: Step 3 - Crack Her Open
Once you have one side of your pumpkin cut, take the knife out and roll the pumpkin over. Find the split where you cut through the flower spot, and slip that knife back in the gourd. Keep cutting until you make it back up to the stem end.
It sounds more difficult than it is. Essentially, you're cutting the beastie in half, ignoring the stem. Nothing to it, really.
Now, take the knife out and set it aside - somewhere safe and out of the way. You're done with the knife.
Pry open the cut near the flower end. Use your fingers. It should open right up. Just pull the halves apart until the stem end snaps open. Whee! A split pumpkin!
Step 4: Step 4 - Evisceration
Stop! Take a second to set your oven to 350 degrees. Ok, now you may continue.
Take a large spoon and use gentle pressure to scrape the seeds away from the clingy, stringy, gooey mass holding them in place. If you start from the stem end and work down, they seem to pop out easier. Try for spoonfuls of seeds without much pumpkin guts attached. Dump these seeds onto your paper towel (or container or whatever.) When you have as many as you'd like to keep, start scraping harder with the spoon. If you dig into the flesh just a tiny bit, a thin layer may scrape away, making this bit less messy. Some of my pumpkins had this layer, some didn't.
Keep scraping with the spoon until all the guts are released from the flesh. Dump these guts into a handy container - mine went to our chickens, but it could be just as easily composted if you don't mind the excess seeds sprouting on your compost pile.
Now, repeat with the other pumpkin half. Nicely done! The difficult part is over. Really.
Step 5: Step 5 - Set and Forget
Fill the remaining pumpkin half with water. Somehow, this amount seemed to work regardless of what size pumpkin I was dealing with. I would imagine if you have a gigantic pumpkin, you'd not want an entire half full of water, but I digress.
Pour the water from the pumpkin into the pan. Place the water-bearing half next to its kin and carefully place the pan into the oven. Try not to spill the water.
Close the oven. Set a timer for 55 minutes. Go do other things.
This is a good time to sort out those pumpkin seeds we were playing with earlier. Or write an instructable.
Step 6: Step 6 - Fork and Flip
Use hot pads, the oven is rather toasty and the water in the pan is scalding. Gently pull out the oven rack about halfway - don't pull it out so much that the pan starts to tip.
Poke your pumpkin flesh with a fork. Does it go in somewhat easily? Sure it does. A little resistance is ok (it's futile, anyway.) Now we're at the tricky part. Careful not to burn yourself.
The object is to turn the pumpkin halves over so the skin side is up and the cut side is resting in the water. You might need to take your pan out of the oven to accomplish this. I used a fork and a hot pad and managed (somehow) to not burn myself on the side of the oven.
Just get them flipped over. Put them back in the oven (or just push in the rack if you used my dangerous method.) Set your timer for 15 minutes.
Step 7: Step 7 - Getting to the Good Stuff
Remove the pan from the oven - careful of the hot water!
Use your fork to get under the edge of one pumpkin half. Lift it up enough to roll it onto a shallow bowl. If you're brave, roll it onto a hotpad that you're holding. Either way, get it rolled over so the flesh side is up and it's out of the pan.
Take your trusty seed-scraping spoon. Rinse it off if necessary. Start scraping hunks of flesh from the pumpkin. Try not to puncture the skin. Transfer the pumpkin flesh into a big bowl. Dream about pies and soups and pumpkin bread.
The pumpkin should be fairly soft so that it comes away from the skin easily. I found if I did not flip the pumpkins over for the additional 15 minutes, the pumpkin didn't want to release from the skin as easily.
Tuck the empty pumpkin skin into your "for the chickens" bucket - or composting bucket or let it cool and wear it as a hat. (I don't really recommend wearing it as a hat, but if you do, send pictures and I'll giggle.)
Now you have a big bowl full of tasty pumpkin flesh. Use a potato masher to squish it up for pie or keep it chunky for a spicy pumpkin soup or twirl it in a blender for pumpkin bread... the options are nearly limitless.
I hope this instructable was helpful.
Now, go release the inner goodness from a gourd near you!