We lucked out this year and had warm weather on the day that we carved pumpkins, so we decided to keep the mess outside and so we carved the pumpkins in the garage. It was great because we could let the kids go to town on their pumpkins and not have to worry about it spilling on the floor.
This was the first year that Chloe actually wanted to touch the pumpkin guts with her hands and she loved it. Abby on the other hand complained every time some got on her hand and had to wipe it off. First the kids colored their pumpkins and then told us what they wanted us to carve on it. We had a lot of fun and the pumpkins turned out adorable (well mine was supposed to look really cool but yeah... it kinda flopped. That's the last time I use a patterns to cut out a face).