Friday, October 28, 2016

Cast Your Vote In The Tenth Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest!

Long ago, in a land far far away, my now-husband and I were young college students flirting with the idea of taking our casual friendship a step further. It was October, and he invited me to his parents' house one weekend just before Halloween. "I bet I can carve a better pumpkin than you," he boasted, in the true spirit of our very competitive flirtation.

And thus, a contest was born. Nine years later, we still celebrate Halloween with a carving contest; these days, we have a theme that we both have to carve to. And each year, we allow all and sundry to cast their votes via my blog. (Previous years can be found at my old blog, here!)

I'm going to warn you, folks: This year was, um, not our best year. We tried some new things, including a dremel (long story, but we're not big fans, actually!), and neither of our pumpkins quite lived up to our visions for them. They definitely don't hold a candle—pun intended—to some of our truly great years. And this year, I think we're both starting to feel the potential for a change in the breeze, the inkling of a time when this pumpkin carving contest will have run its natural course, as it were, and be consigned to past tradition instead of present.

But for this year? It's still on, baby. And this year's theme is Harry Potter! 

As always, all descriptions are written by me, and all photos are a joint effort between us both. This years rules, as in previous years, are:

1. Just ONE vote per person... no cheating! If you don't have a Google or OpenID account and so you're voting anonymously, make sure to sign your vote. Unsigned anonymous votes may be deleted.

2. DO NOT reveal who carved which pumpkin! If you suspect that you may know which pumpkin was carved by whom, DO NOT share that information in the comments. Any comment that tries to spill the carver's identities will be quickly deleted. (Also, we really DON'T recommend attempting to guess whose pumpkin is whose. In the past, guessers have tried to swing the vote for one person or another, and guessed wrong, with disastrous [but hilarious] results. So really, just vote for which pumpkin you actually like better and leave it at that, okay???)

3. Get all your friends and family to cast their votes too! Share on social media! Bug your co-workers!

And now, for the pumpkins.

This year's Pumpkin A is a spooktastic take on one of cinema's most horrible (and marvelously Halloween-ish) scenes, as far as I'm concerned: Harry's and Ron's run-in in the Forbidden Forest with Aragog, the massive and horrible Acromantula and former pet of Hagrid's, who might bear Hagrid himself love but holds no compunction about eating Hagrid's friends. Carver A truly broke the bounds of pumpkin carving this year, creatively using two pumpkins to create a 3D masterpiece. The jagged skyline recalls the trees of the Forbidden Forest that hem Harry and Ron in as they prepare to do battle with Aragog, and Carver A even used specialized tools to suggest the branches of the trees above them (visible in the daylight pictures). Harry and Ron stand back to back, wands raised and aglow, as Aragog crashes toward them. Especially noteworthy in this year's Pumpkin A is the expert level of detail on Aragog: minute pincers that grasp for the beleaguered boys as they try to make their escape, the texture along his back suggesting bristly hairs. What it lacks in traditional pumpkin glow, this work makes up for with innovation and emotion; without doubt, this year's Pumpkin A is a unique masterpiece.




This year's Pumpkin B, not to be outdone, takes a different tack: this expertly-rendered and traditionally carved tableau depicts Harry's climactic battle with Salazar Slytherin's pet basilisk, deep within the Chamber of Secrets. Using simple-looking but fiendishly difficult outlining techniques to dramatic effect, Carver B has shown us Harry in his final, heart-stopping moment, as the basilisk rears above him to take deadly aim and deliver the killing stroke. Gryffindor's Sword glows with purpose as Fawkes the Phoenix swoops down from the top right corner, and Harry, nearly defeated by still undaunted, prepares for his last stand. Especially of note in this year's Pumpkin B is the lifelike reality of the basilisk, complete with minute fangs, ready to pierce Harry's upraised arm and very nearly turn the Wizarding World over to Voldemort once and for all.



All right—it's time to head to the polls!
Leave your vote in the comments. 
Voting will remain open until Wednesday, November 2nd, at around 8pm Pacific time.
(Unless Kate is having a fit at that moment, in which case it might be a little later. But you know, pretty close.)

33 comments:

  1. My vote's for B!!! (Though it's close.)

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  2. While I appreciate the time it must've taken to carve that amazing spider, I got to say B. The glowing Gryffindor's sword stole the contest away.

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  3. Tough choice! Altoughy Aragog is amazing, I'm voting for B for the brilliant lighting effects! Great job, both if you.

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  4. Mmmmm i like Pumpkin B best. I agree auth the previous commenter about the sword. The glowing sword won my heart. I feel like this pumpkin was a little clearer to see too, so that sealed my vote.

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  5. B gets my vote as well. That Aragon is intense, but the glowing sword!

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  6. 3 votes (from myself and 2 coworkers) for Pumpkin B. The lighting through the sword is perfect!

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  7. A gets my vote, wicked spider.

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  8. I have to go with B. As awesome as A is (which I really love) it's hard to see the full awesomeness of it in the dark. B is at least visible in both light and dark.

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  9. As impressive as the acromantula is - my vote is for pumpkin B! That glowing sword of Gryffindor is what seals the deal

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  10. B. Because A is original, and I'm against originality.

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  11. Aragog is very impressive, but Pumpkin B is my favorite. Love the glowing sword and fangs on the basilisk.

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  12. I am just a traditionalist, sadly, and want my pumpkin pumpkin-shaped. So B it is (+, as others have said, the glowing sword of Gryffindor).

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  13. B. I love the spider and detail in A, but the detail in B is amazing.

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  14. This is the first year all 5 Lovells have agreed on a pumpkin vote... 5 votes for B. Everyone agrees both pumpkins are good (& we love Harry Potter as a theme!), but we just love B's glowing scene. The kids especially like that you put A for Aragog and B for Basilisk, so kudos for that alliteration, too. 😊

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  15. I love both and since I hate spiders I must say I get a bit creeped out by A. However my vote is for B. That sword!

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  16. B! Love the expression on the basilisk's face!

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  17. I like pumpkin B best. I am a traditionalist and like my pumpkins glowing. But good job to both artists! Heidi Jester (formerly Raleigh)

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  18. My vote goes to pumpkin A, and Joshua says pumpkin B. So that's kinda useless. ;) -Shavonne

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