I love carving pumpkins for Halloween but I hate those little wimpy carving tools you can buy this time of year. I've often thought of rebuilding them using heftier parts from the metal-things-that-can-cut aisle of the hardware store. I was searching the net for someone who might already have done the initial design for sturdier carving tools when I discovered Extreme Pumpkins. Tom Nardone doesn't mess around. He went straight to the garage and pulled out the power tools. Why didn't I think of that?
The site has lots of helpful hints and ideas. There are a few patterns you can download. He has some patterns you can buy and links to the two books he's written on the subject. There is also some video, including the video of a pumpkin lit with a toilet paper roll soaked in kerosene that was making the rounds last year.
Lots of great examples of pumpkin carving here but be aware that there are some links to adult oriented products from this site. Plus there is the use of power tools, fire and extreme patterns. I wouldn't recommend opening this one up in your classroom or sending your students here. My guess is you'd have one of those uncomfortable meetings with your principal and a slightly charred set of parents that starts with, "Just what in Sam Hill are you teaching in that den of evil you call a classroom?"
If you do these kinds of activities with kids though, you will find lots of useful ideas you could safely share. I think I might lock up the power tools if I caught my 9 year old watching this on his own. (I have no nine year old....so I'm not too worried but my wife has hidden the kerosene for some reason!)
[Image was captured from http://www.extremepumpkins.com: It is a picture of a contestent for his annual pumpkin carving contest]