Fix your eyes on the October masterpiece at the top of this post; specifically on the left side of that image. You can forget the pumpkin on the right, that was a creation of my girlfriend and she's like actually talented or something. (Ugh, girls. Am I right?)
On the left is a Rockies pumpkin. I carved it last night, my lone attempt at celebrating Halloween. And despite what outward appearances may hold upon first glance with a candle in it and the lights off... it was a disaster.
Being a stand-up guy, I figured it'd be in the community's best interest for me to share my experience carving a Rockies pumpkin, so that you don't make the same mistakes I did. And however you're celebrating this Halloween, if nothing else, you can rally around each other and collectively make fun of my awful pumpkin-carving abilities.
The Rockies need a new logo
When I took on the burden of a Rockies pumpkin, I wasn't about to carve the boring and simple "CR" hat logo. Nooo way, folks. When you carve a pumpkin, you go all in, and going all in means the primary ball-flying-across-the-mountains logo.
Now that I've done it, though, I realize how badly the Rockies need a new logo. Not only is it a '90s-themed look which could use an update, it's also really hard to carve into a pumpkin. It's too intricate and it doesn't translate well to fall-themed holidays.
Need proof? Look! It's a disaster in the light!
What the hell is that piece of garbage? Did a six year old make that thing?
Is the top of the arch caving in on itself? (Yes it is, and more on that below so hold that thought.) And did I forget the bottom bar underneath the word "Rockies"? (Yes I did, but it wasn't about forgetting it so much as I was concerned about the structural integrity of the entire pumpkin had I carved it across the bottom.)
My Rockies pumpkin reminds me of a one-night stand: at night, in the moment, with the lights off (and perhaps a candle lit for ambiance, naturally), it all seems like a pretty good idea. But then you wake up in the morning, and, well, you're left with regret and shame:
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THIS PUMPKIN?!
This was taken just hours later! Does it have flesh-eating MRSA? Did wild hogs attack it in the middle of the night? Is it caving in upon itself out of pure shame? This is embarrassing!
Lessons learned from carving a Rockies pumpkin
Stung by my utter, public failure, I felt it was best to help others learn from my shortcomings. In no particular order, some lessons:
- When you stencil the logo, start with the mountains and ball in the middle. I started with the arched "Colorado", and found it was too big for the bottom "Rockies." Then, I stenciled the "Rockies" and had to re-do the arch to match the new scale. I re-stenciled each one several times before wiping it clean and starting over with the mountain/ball portion, and that's where it finally came together. Piece the arch and the bottom "Rockies" around the mountain/ball.
- Try to find a pumpkin with as big a face as possible. This is your landscape, and you'll need room to work. The smaller the stencil is, the more difficult it will be to cut, and you need all the room (and margin of error) that you can get.
- On that same note, make the logo bigger and the specific pieces to cut slightly smaller. The more of the pumpkin you have remaining after you've cut out your detailed pieces (like the lettering), the less likely your pumpkin will cave in on itself at weak points, like mine did at the top of the arch. If the cut-out letters are smaller, and there's slightly more pumpkin space left between each, chances are higher your pumpkin won't cave in almost immediately after you carve it.
- As you can see by the disaster morning-after picture, one of the sensitive parts of the logo is the top of the arch, where the "O-R-A" of "Colorado" converge across the bridge. Don't cut anything too closely there (or in the mountain/ball image) because there's not enough pumpkin left to hold it up if it fails.
- I shouldn't admit this because it makes me look even worse (!), but I have paper clips on the inside of the pumpkin holding up the "R" and "A" in "Colorado," as well as the very bottom right connected portion of the mountain/ball image. Have a few paper clips handy for your pumpkin. No matter how well you do, you'll need them.
- After you finish stenciling, carve from the top down, rather than going from the bottom up. Start with the top arch, the "O-R-A" in "Colorado," and carve down from there. That was one thing I did right. The only thing I did right.
- Plan for this to take a while. I spent nearly three hours on it, though that may say more about me than the pumpkin; I got tired and my girlfriend carved the final portion (the "C-K-I-E-S" in "Rockies"). I know.
- Don't watch Boy Meets World while you're carving. I did, and you saw how my pumpkin turned out. Cory is dumb and Shawn is dumb and Topanga is dumb and Angela is dumb and LONG LIVE ERIC MATTHEWS AND FEE-EEE-EEE-EENY!
I'd be remiss if I didn't hat tip my girlfriend for her phenomenal pumpkin from The Nightmare Before Christmas; I've never seen it, but I guess it's Jack Skellington and Oogie-Boogie (?!). All I know is her pumpkin is beautiful and it came out looking exactly like the template, and mine is currently falling in upon itself on my front porch.
Ah, well. Live and learn. Happy Halloween!