by Sara N.
It's one week until Halloween. Do you have a pumpkin pattern yet?
|Vintage Halloween art from squidoo|
You can create gorgeous, topical, geeky pumpkins using patterns or templates. Simply tape the pattern to your hollowed-out pumpkin, poke holes along the line of your pattern, then cut out the holes. Insert the candle, and magic will happen.
First, some self-promotion: Click here for S4's exclusive (and frighteningly adorable!) carving pattern of the bear cub triplets from Pixar's summer hit Brave.
If you want something more terrifying, you can always count on Pink Raygun to have nerd-friendly pumpkin patterns, including The Walking Dead, True Blood, Watchmen, Harry Potter, Supernatural (Yes! Finally! My own Dean Winchester!) and many more. (Psst, Laurie: They have Hawkeye!)
|Examples from the Zombie Pumpkins website.|
Ultimate Pumpkin Stencils has a set of Game of Thrones house sigils. Imagine the Stark direwolf and the Lannister lion battling it out on your front porch! They've also got a collection of Disney and Muppet stencils (naturally, I'm pining for Miss Piggy), and the best Bane stencil I've seen this year. These are a little pricier, but they'd all look great aglow on Halloween night.
Examples from Ultimate Pumpkin Stencils
Here's a different kind of geeky: Get your political nerdiness on with these patterns from the Pumpkin Lady, featuring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the Liberty Bell and more. There's a charge for these patterns.
|Examples from Pumpkin Jack Carving.|
This website is probably also the only place you'll find a pattern for Isaac Asimov's face. Be warned that these will take time and patience to execute.
Another challenging group of patterns is available at Fantasy Pumpkins. The dragons are gorgeous, but I have so far not worked up the courage to attempt them. Star Trek fans: There's also a pattern for the Enterprise.
Haven't found anything you like?
Make your own! Here are a few suggestions on finding a picture you like and making your own using a variety of software, from MS Paint to PhotoShop. You can also do it by hand by tracing an image or drawing it freehand. (This is how I created the carvable Brave Bears.)
Learning how to carve with a template:
If you haven't tackled this type of project before, here's an online guide for carving a pumpkin using a template; visual learners can watch this YouTube demonstration. Those who want to try the more advanced designs that require shading can watch this video tutorial. Once you've carved your pumpkin, you'll want to keep it fresh until Oct. 31. This site has some suggestions for keeping your design from shrinking. (Think Vaseline and plastic wrap.)
My suggestions for pumpkin success:
- Buy tools. The cheap orange plastic tools they sell at your local megamart will be fine for your precision cuts. If you get serious about carving, invest in a nice wood and metal set.
- Use big metal serving spoons to scoop out the pumpkin guts. Glop them onto a layer of old newspapers. (Remember those? Who's useful now, Internet news sites?)
- When you transfer the pattern onto your pumpkin by poking holes through it, smear a thin layer of baking flour across the pumpkin surface to help you see all of the tiny dots. It'll wash right off when you're done.
- If you decide you want to season and bake the seeds that you remove from your pumpkin and you leave them out overnight to dry, make sure you don't also have cats, or you might wake up to find this: