Halloween: Pumpkins & Books

November 8, 2010 § 1 Comment

Halloween is over, but I’m still behind on my October craft posting!  I wanted to show you my pumpkins!

I am not a master of pumpkin carving.  I carved my very first pumpkin last year, and discovered that pumpkin carving is great fun (gutting the pumpkin, however, despite the opportunity for macabre humor, is not my favorite. Slimy things! Augh!).

Last year my very first pumpkin featured the Other Mother, an appropriately terrifying figure from Neil Gaiman’s novel Coraline (one of my favorites).

I meditated on the design, then drew it on the pumpkin with a pencil. My pumpkin, by the by, was named Bertha, and unfortunately Bertha had a big rotten patch on her bottom.  So I cut the bottom out of the pumpkin entirely.  The Other Mother has a button eye and is brandishing the needle that she wants to use to sew buttons over your eyes.  Scared?

You should be.

I carved the entire pumpkin using only kitchen knives, which was a frustrating experience (especially when I painstakingly carved out a curl of hair…and then accidentally sliced it off) and I swore never to carve a pumpkin again without that tiny saw sold specifically for pumpkin carving.  Next year, tiny saw, I promised. Next year, you and me.

Then the next year rolled around and became this year, and I went to a Halloween party with my friend Angela, and we decided at the last minute to participate in the pumpkin carving contest.  We were presented with a pumpkin, and a handful of kitchen knives.

No tiny saw to be seen.

Oh well.  We had a kitchen knife and thirty minutes, so there was no time for tears.  There had been a quick brainstorming session right before the contest to choose a design–we didn’t want to do a traditional Jack O’Lantern face, but we needed to do something simple that we could draw and carve quickly.  In a moment of brilliance we said ah-ha!  And this is what we carved:

Can you tell what it is? Yes? No?

It’s supposed to be a ‘witchy’ variation on the face/vase optical illusion–something like this.

It would have been better if the faces were perfectly symmetrical, but for a hasty free-handed drawing in pencil on a pumpkin with a natural wonky tilt, I think did pretty well.  While we didn’t win an official prize, Angela and I know in our hearts that we are the true winners of everything.

The next day I carved this year’s real pumpkin, a pumpkin lovingly named Doxie.  I decided to revisit last year’s Neil Gaiman theme, mostly because I re-read The Graveyard Book in preparation for Halloween and fell deeply in love with it, but also in honor of All Hallow’s Read, because Neil Gaiman is right–we need more holidays that involve the giving of books.

I was looking forward to using my tiny saw.

Guess what happened to the saw.

No, go on, guess.

I broke it.  Snapped it in half almost immediately.

Fortunately I was able to borrow Angela’s tiny saw while she used the scraper tool on the other end of my saw’s handle, although I did use a kitchen knife a bit.  At least the results were good!

My Graveyard Book pumpkin was really very simple–I just used the silhouette from Dave McKean’s cover art.

I think it made a nice, simple, striking pumpkin, don’t you?

Did you carve any pumpkins this year?

§ One Response to Halloween: Pumpkins & Books

  • Melody says:

    Yes, I carved a pumpkin! It was awesome! My pumpkin actually looked pretty good this year! Look at me! I use exclamation points!!!!!!! Wheeeeeeee!!!

    Maybe I should go to bed now….

    !!!

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