Even adults should take sharp objects seriously and concentrate when working on the pumpkin. Halloween of 2009 would have been much better if I hadn’t sliced my finger open with a box cutter when trying to get the nose piece out of my ghoul.
Rather than immediately tracing the pattern with a knife once it was secure, Kirk would use a pushpin or needle to poke a thousand tiny holes along all the lines he intended to cut. This marked the area and got it started so the image could then be carved with a box cutter or other precise instrument. The tiny dots needed to be deep and very close together. This was the most time-consuming part of the process.
Something about pumpkin carvings I didn’t originally know was that the flesh can be cut in different depths. Patterns don’t need to be made solely by cutting all the way through to the center of the pumpkin. Instead, sometimes the flesh can be thinned enough to allow light from inside the pumpkin to glow through without a complete hole being made. This is especially useful for small details, because it is hard to be precise through the entire depth of the pumpkin.
With patience, Kirk and his friends were able to make pumpkins with Mech Warriors, Predator vs. a T-Rex, the Jack Daniels logo, the globe, a cougar, and dragons engulfed in flame. Each year provides new opportunity for Kirk to outdo the previous year’s work and to teach other adults to appreciate pumpkin carving as more than just a quick arts and crafts project.
Entire websites are dedicated to this once-a-year event. ExtremePumpkins.com provides free tips and designs, and hosts a carving contest each year with winners displayed on the website. The site has creative ways to carve and light pumpkins, including using power tools to carve.
The pumpkins can be decorated with wigs, paint, leaves, or even other pumpkins in addition to the actual carving. A lot of cities have local pumpkin carving contests worth entering each year, where carving is done on site and judged by the crowd. Although Kirk will be pressured to work within a time limit, he considers these contests every year and hopefully will enter this Halloween of 2010.