Friday, October 27, 2017

Cast Your Vote In The Eleventh Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest!

Picture this, my friends: The year is 2007. Our heroine, a young college sophomore, has been invited to dinner and pumpkin carving with the family of the boy that she's definitely not dating. And, because the awkwardness of their deeply ambiguous relationship is best masked by rivalry, he issues the invitation thusly:

"I bet I can carve a better pumpkin than you."

Little do our young definitely-not-lovers know, but this will be the start not just of an annual pumpkin carving contest tradition—but of a relationship that will produce one marriage certificate, a string of moves across the American West, and one outsized-personality daughter.

In fact, the night of this very first pumpkin carving contest, as it happens, will be the very first night that our heroine will turn and look at our hero and think: Maybe I could fall in love with him.

The rest, as they say, is history.

.   .   .   .   .

Ten 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 under this label, and at my old blog, here!)

This year's theme? Well, we let Kate pick, and it really shouldn't shock you that she immediately shouted "MOANA!" 

So Moana it is.

As always, all descriptions are written by me, and all photos are a joint effort between us both. (And actually, uh, this year I conceptualized both pumpkins, too, though Mahon came up with the design for his entirely.) 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. I'll tally votes here, on Facebook, and on Instagram, but please only vote in one place!

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.

There's a line where the sky meets the sea, and it calls you—right to Pumpkin AThis year's Carver A decided to depict the quintessential scene: Moana herself, fearlessly wayfinding through the wildest of seas, never deterred from her quest to restore peace to her island. Her hair (which, can we just say, #hairgoals!) blows in the wind as she navigates her craft with its distinctive sail, not for one second scared by the looming wave curling over her boat's bow. Note Carver A's playful attention to textures, as well as the swirling symbol adorning the sail—which, Carver A is not ashamed to say, nearly broke his or her brain in two.

Unfortunately for our young princess—sorry, "daughter of the chief"—on the other side of her horizon awaits this fearsome demon of fire and rock, this year's Pumpkin B. Ever defeat a lava monster? Yeah, me neither. With careful wielding of tools and laborious time and effort, this year's Carver B has brought the fearsome Te Ka to pyroclastic life, complete with both her fiery aura and her desperately angry demeanor. Make special note of Carver B's exquisite attention to detail, particularly in the depiction of Te Ka's charcoal-esque stone skin, through which you can see her molten rage threatening to break free at any moment. Here, our fell foe prepares any second to launch a flaming lava ball towards Moana's boat... and none may know who will triumph!

And only you, my friends, may know who will triumph in this year's pumpkin carving contest! 
Voting will close by 9pm PDT on Halloween night.

You're a long ways past the reef—might as well go vote!

Postscript: On no account may you cast a vote for this pumpkin (all votes for this one will be rejected, so don't even try it!), but we figured we'd show you the cuteness anyway. (Face carved by Daddy, design thought up and spots painted by Kate.)


  1. I love this tradition. Both are impressive, but it's B for me.

  2. This is so hard! But I'm going to say A.

  3. Could you post a daylight picture of both pumpkins? I'm having a hard time seeing the design on pumpkin A beyond the sail. I think a daylight photo would help the vote be less partial for me. :)

  4. These are both completely amazing. I love how they both really convey the feelings from the movie. I’m going to vote A because I love the feeling of movement.

  5. Our whole family voted for Pumpkin B... So that's four votes. Although i was thoroughly impressed with both pumpkins i was especially impressed with the pumpkin B's detail in the face and hand. Also i think it very appropriate that she's fire and the pumpkin has fire in it making the color very realistic to the real thing. Good job Baldwin's! And that cute little kitty is super cute!

  6. A I love the wave, the sail and the hair - great theme to work with. I really liked B too and the little kitty is way fun - Happy Halloween to all of you!

  7. B. Love the details with Moana, but Te Ka is my choice. The kitty pumpkin is adorable.

  8. B - but it's a hard choice. Both pumpkins are #goals :)

  9. The spots on the kitty are precious and totally show through in the picture. :) I think A is my favorite. I love the details in the sail, the skirt, and the hair. I kind of wish the water detail showed through better, but we can't have everything!

  10. I haven't asked my family yet, but my friend Laura & my friend Rusty both vote B.

    1. My friend Cheyanne votes pumpkin A for the impressive shading.

  11. This has become something I look forward to seeing each year! I'm always wowed by the creativity :-) pumpkin B

  12. B! And also, your use of words like "pyroclastic" is one of the many reasons I think you're just swell. ^_^

  13. I like them both, but A is my final answer.

  14. I like B! I think this is so cool that y'all do this every year!

  15. B! But both are so so fabulous!!