In a small bowl, combine the yeast and lukewarm water and let sit for about 1 minute.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar.
Mix the yeast mixture and the melted butter into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon. It should not take longer than a minute and you should be left with a coarse ball.
Continue mixing by hand for about 2 minutes.
Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Mix by hand for 3 minutes, adding more water or flour as needed to form a smooth, lightly tacky ball.
Turn the ball out to a lightly floured surface, knead for one minute, and place it in a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator overnight or up to 4 days. If you want, you can even bake a few pretzels a day with this dough every day for the four days!
On the day you plan to bake, dissolve the baking soda in warm water in a medium-sized bowl. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and rip off a small piece (about one ounce). Form it into a ball.
Use kitchen scissors to cut the dough so it looks like a flower. Make cuts that start at the edge of the circle and go almost all the way to the center, creating about eight sections.
Rather than laying the "flower" flat, tuck the sections under themselves to give the dough a little height. As you can see below, the dough still doesn't look at all like a pumpkin, but it will! Also, note that my sections aren't perfectly even. Guess what? It doesn't really matter!
Dunk your flower-like dough ball into the baking soda water, and place it onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Adjust the shape as needed after the dunk.
Repeat for as many pretzels as you want to make that day. Space them about one inch apart on the cookie sheet.
Sprinkle the pretzels with salt.
Bake for 16 minutes or until browned. If baking multiple sheets at once, be sure to rotate halfway through baking.
While still warm, poke a pecan half into the center of each pumpkin to make a stem.