On Monday night, I got together with my family and we had our annual pumpkin carving contest. I posted photos of our pumpkins on Tuesday without revealing who carved which pumpkin. I asked for you to vote on your favorite design and opened the polls via my blog, Instagram, Facebook and good old-fashioned text messaging. 70 people sent in votes, and two pumpkins clearly took the lead. Here's who did each pumpkin:
Stephen, my mom's boyfriend, did "the face," which was actually the end result of a bunch of different ideas that didn't end up working. Mom did the spider, Stewart did Van Gogh's Starry Night, Daniel carved the cactus landscape, and mine was the simple wraparound stars & polka dots.
So who won the Best Pumpkin award this year? STEWART! Congrats, buddy... you were the winner this year and I think we all can see why... his carving skills are immaculate.
The voting breakdown was as follows: 26 votes to Starry Night, 24 votes to the spider, 13 votes for the cactus landscape, 7 votes for the stars & polka dots, and sadly 0 votes for "the face." Thanks to everyone who voted!
Below you can find a little breakdown of how each pumpkin was created.
These two were the pumpkin favorites, that's for sure. Mom created her spider pumpkin by freehand drawing an outline of a spider and cutting it out. She then used a pumpkin engraving tool to freehand her web, shaving off little bits of the outside of the pumpkin at a time. After her web was finished, she added back in the cut-out spider for a popping 3-D effect. Her pumpkin was definitely the spookiest and most stand-out worthy of the bunch.
Stewart—whose pumpkin last time suffered an accidental slice that cut off half of his grim reaper design—knocked it out of the park with his pumpkin this year. He created his Starry Night design by freehanding from Van Gogh's Starry Night painting. We have a bunch of pumpkin artists in our family, I tell you what! We can't draw, but we sure can carve! He first drew an outline of the cypress tree and then carved out the moon with a knife. Once he had his base pieces set, he began engraving the pumpkin with an engraving tool, working really quickly because he had to get to Quidditch practice. He freehanded all the engraving, and just kept shaving off little bits at a time as he went. When he was satisfied with the engraving, he took a pumpkin hole punch tool (I have no idea where Stephen got it) and punched out his stars. Stew's pumpkin took less than an hour and he was the first one finished. High five dude, you killed it.
Daniel's pumpkin—my favorite of the bunch—was a cactus landscape design, inspired by the childhood backyard he had growing up in Arizona. Daniel didn't base his design off a photo or anything he'd seen on Pinterest... he just sat down and started cutting the design, using a simple pumpkin carving toolkit carving saw. He freehanded the whole thing and didn't know how it was going to turn out until it was all finished. His design was simple and looked like a beautiful desert sunset... it was just awesome.
My pumpkin, the simple one of the bunch, was accomplished by using a small pumpkin carving saw and just freehanding little and big stars around the entire pumpkin. Once I had my stars cut out, I went back with a hole punching tool and just punched out random holes. While my pumpkin may not be extraordinary, I think if you had several pumpkins with wraparound designs, they would be so cool as fall-festive party decor.
And Stephen's pumpkin, "the face," was the conglomeration of many ideas that just didn't end up happening. Stephen initially punched out several holes in the top of the pumpkin and filled them with broccoli sprigs—we think he was going for hair—but he didn't like the look of it so he bailed on that one. Then he decided to use the stem as a nose, and the face just sort of happened. Poor Stephen, no votes for you. Whenever we do contests like this, Stephen is notorious for trying to do the elaborate and incredible designs, and while the ideas behind them always sound really cool, the end result usually just ends up being "too much." But that's why it's fun to do contests with Stephen... because then it's easier to win! (Love ya, Stephen!)
Anyway, our family pumpkin carving contest was a blast. This was the first year I haven't won (last time I won with a wraparound calico kitty design, complete with 3D ears—she was so cute!). I think my favorite part of the whole night was the huge slice of New York-style pizza I had while contemplating my design. Yum! Did your favorite pumpkin win?