What you'll need:
one glass or pottery plate
one small pumpkin
one small plastic or wax skull that will fit inside the pumpkin
a small amount of seeds from the pumpkin, dried
a teaspoon of cinnamon
small slips of paper, with the name of one ancestor you wish to honor written on each
a black cloth big enough to shroud the pumpkin
a candle in the color of your choice
Carve out the pumpkin (saving the stem lid) so it is very clean and wash a small amount of the seeds. Place the seeds on a lightly oiled baking sheet (to prevent them from sticking) and dry in the oven at 375f degrees for about 15 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them as cooking times will vary from oven to oven! Let cool.
In a small bowl, mix the seeds and the cinnamon. Stir widdershins, or counter-clockwise, to banish negative energy from your home while visualizing your home being purged of everything negative. Then stir deosil, or clockwise, to honor your ancestors and to ask for their blessings. Now place your pumpkin on the plate, light your candle and fire up your incense. While gazing at the candle flame, take a moment to meditate upon your loved ones past. Pass the small skull and the slips with your ancestors' names through the incense smoke. Place the slips inside the pumpkin, arranged neatly in a circle on the bottom. Place the small skull, centered, on top of them and sprinkle the seeds and cinnamon around the skull. Hold your hands over the top of the pumpkin and request that your ancestors bring harmony and prosperity into your life. Place the stem lid back on the top, cover the pumpkin with the black cloth and put it in a safe place for seven days. On the seventh day, uncover your pumpkin and bring it outside, placing it either on an outdoor altar that you won't be using for the season, or in an inconspicuous place, allowing it to decay throughout the winter season.
Note for those who live in warmer climates where leaving a pumpkin to rot outside wouldn't smell very pleasant for either yourselves or your neighbors and for those living in apartments who'd rather not look at a rotting pumpkin sitting on your terrace: eliminate the pumpkin entirely after you cull the seeds from it and do the entire spell on the plate. Cover the plate with the black cloth and on the seventh day, tie up the black cloth with a golden string, securing the seed/spice mixture, ancestor names, and skull inside. Place in a corner of your attic, your cellar or in a room where it won't be disturbed. Keep till the following Samhain season.
Photo courtesy of StGrundy on flickr.