Think you’re a rock-star with mushy, vaguely head-shaped vegetables and a knife? Think again – these pumpkin carvings will blow your mind. (I was going to call this post “The Great Cutter Roundup”, but I was afraid it would draw a bunch of emo gloom-cookies.
Scott Cummins – PumpkinGutter.Com
The gallery below is just a tiny fraction of the amazing pumpkins you’ll find in Scott’s PumpkinGutter.Com gallery. He shows you what most of them look like when lighted from the inside, and has lots of great photos showing pieces while they’re being worked on, so make sure you hit the link and check it out.
Ray Villafane – Sculptor for DC Comics
Ray Villafane, a sculptor for DC Comics, was the winner of the Food Network’s Pumpkin Carving Challenge in Oct 2008. The six and half hour event pitted four pumpkin carvers against each other in a three part competition. Part one involved a traditional Jack o Lantern. Part two: 3D sculpture.
The final part, which was worth half of the points was the freestyle competition. Ray won every section and blew away the competition. Not only did he get bragging rights and a neat little medal, but he also got a check for $10,000 dollars. His stuff is simply unbelievable. (Also check out his sculpture work for DC on his website. Too cool.)
Star Wars Pumpkin Series
Several years ago, Dayna Flores captured this carved Star Wars pumpkin collection while visiting Beloit, Wisconsin. The carver uses craft pumpkins and adds a new one to the series every year. You can see the full collection on Dayna’s Flickr set.
Pumpkin Carving for the Rest of Us
If you’re not a pumpkin Picasso like Scott or Ray, don’t hang up your trowels, knives and scoops just yet. If you don’t have the chops to freestyle it like those gourd gurus, you can still create some really impressive pumpkins with the help of pumpkin carving templates. Check out PumpkinStencils101.Com for help on how to get started using templates, and then keep reading for some gloriously geeky template and tutorial sources.
FantasyPumpkins.Com has a wide-array of freely available stencils available for download, organized by level of difficulty, in addition to an amazingly in-depth walk-through tutorial on carving the death star. These are just some of the patterns you can find there:
The Kastan Family
The Kastan Family website also has a nice collection of movie-related carvings and patterns. (Make sure to check the archives – they have several years cataloged, although not every pumpkin has a pattern.) Some of what you’ll find there:
If you decide to try this out, make sure you check out the open source Larson Scanner Kit (named after Glen A. Larson, the man responsible for producing both the original Battlestar Galactica and Knight Rider TV shows) that details several improvements over the original in the tutorial.
Check out the video that shows how well the EvilMadScientist.Com tutorial works:
If you’re lazy, busy, or not particularly electrically adventurous, Maker Shed sells a kit for only $17, although by doing it yourself, you could have the satisfaction of having done it from scratch and sticking it to the man. Or toaster/skin-job.
If the Cylon Jack-O-Lantern isn’t enough of a challenge, check out the Robotic Snap-O-Lantern tutorial, also by EvilMadScientist.Com.
See it at work here:
If sick-and-twisted is more up your alley than geek pop culture, check out ExtremePumpkins.Com, where your carving skills are less important than your desire to shock and gross-out trick-or-treaters. Think you’ve got something grosser and sicker than the rest? Submit your photo for a shot at fabulous prizes in their annual contest. Or if you prefer just to gawk, take a stroll through their previous contest winner galleries. The site also offers free templates and stencils so you can re-create this mass veggiecide on your own porch.
ThinkGeek Pumpkin Carving Contest
Remember to submit your own orginal pumpkin carving stencil for a chance to win massive bragging rights and a free Tauntaun sleeping bag (complete with intestinal lining) or a handful of other only-slightly-less-awesome prizes.
Lots of people have already started posting their geeky pattern contest submissions so if nothing in this post worked your nerdbone (nerdbone? wtf?) just right, check out the comments in the contest link, where you’ll find awesome stuff like this gem from meizme:
Well i read in your blog timmy was upset that lumberjacks lost to the zombies for the new ninja so i thought i would make a lil something to cheer him up… http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/4396/lumberjackvszombies.jpg
Remove the black and peal the skin of for grey, leaving the white. My wife thinks when H1N1 comes in contact with the irradiated moon dust that will soon be entering our atmosphere Earth from the bombing we will experience a zombie pandemic. Lumberjacks will save the world. This is her vision of the future. PS: I R Still waiting for squeeze bacon!
Pumpkin carving with stencils or templates can be fun to do solo, or as a neat bonding activity with your wee nipperkins and geeks-in-training. If the patterns and ideas here aren’t quite the right fit, check out the links below for additional free template downloads.
More Patterns & Links
- The Pumpkin Wizard – Lots of movie-related and fantasy patterns
- Pumpkin lady Patterns – over 200 patterns, a bit more generic, but definitely easier
- Zombie Pumpkins – great selection of fun patterns, none too difficult. Have to join the site to download – not free
- 34 Geeky Pumpkin Faces on Walyou.Com
- Cool Pumpkin Carvings at WomansDay.Com – some very cool stuff here – not at all as lame as it sounds, I promise
And finally, if all this pumpkin carving stuff sounds fun, but too much messy work for you, carve a pumpkin from the comfort of your computer desk with the Virtual Jack-O-Lantern by Theoworlds.
Got your own source for inspiration or patterns, or a really kick-ass pumpkin you’ve lobotomized into pulpy glory? Leave it in the comments.