Monday, October 26, 2020

Cast Your Votes In The 14th Annual Baldwin Pumpkin Carving

(Nope, you can't vote for the cute middle pumpkin, no matter how much you may want to.)

2020 has been quite the year, amirite? I don't know about you, but over the last few weeks, I've felt the intensity of these last ten months building toward a stressful climax, a vote that will determine my family's happiness for the coming days...

The 14th Annual Baldwin Pumpkin Carving Contest! 

This is the oldest tradition in the Baldwin family, begun back before Mahon and I were even dating, on the fateful night that he invited me to meet his family and promised me he could carve a better pumpkin than I could (as if!), the very night I fell the first little bit in love with him. And while every year after carving pumpkins I think NEVER AGAIN, I somehow always come around to it by the next October. In fact, this year I'm even excited already for next year, because this year we FINALLY, finally got a set of REAL, PROFESSIONAL GRADE carving tools, and boy oh boy. Those things are MAGIC. (Way, way better than the year we tried a Dremel, which is something we still don't talk about. It was so bad, y'all.)

This year, our theme was obvious: no less a theme than "Year 2020." How, exactly, could we encapsulate the unbelievability of 2020? You'll have to read on to see!

As always, all descriptions are written by me, and all photos are a joint effort between us both. Because of the nature of the pumpkins presented, the depictions aren't completely equal—you'll notice that Pumpkin A has a video in addition to photos, because it quite literally shines best when you can see it in action.

This years rules, as in previous years, are:

1. Just ONE vote per person... no cheating! You can vote via the poll at the bottom of the post, or in the traditional way, through comments. Because the poll only allows a person to vote once, if you'd like to submit multiple votes for multiple family members, I recommend either doing them all in the comments or else doing one via the poll and the rest via comments. 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. 

You can also cast a vote on Instagram or Facebook, as long as you keep it to the official pumpkin carving contest thread on those platforms (it gets too hard chasing votes across multiple threads).

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!

First up! Pumpkin A:

There have been a number of changes that have come to typify the year 2020... but what has become more iconic than the now-ubiquitous Zoom chat? In the last six months, we've carried out conferences, happy hours, church meetings, play dates, weddings, and even babysitting via video conference software. Zoom has become part of our cultural context, our punchlines... and now, our pumpkins. With this design, Carver A has chosen to depict 2020 as a cheery chat between gregarious G. Ourd and his bff, tea aficionado Jackie Lantern. While G. and Jackie may be unable to meet up in person due to their diligent social distancing, they're grateful for the chance for a little Zoom-o-Lantern time to keep their spirits up and their hearts full. Carver A spent untold hours perfecting the shading in this pumpkin—a true labor of love.

Next up, Pumpkin B:

Double, double, toil and trouble, dumpster burn, pandemic bubble! Shakespeare's witches have nothing on this hook-nosed hag crafted by Carver B; she cackles merrily while stirring the literal dumpster fire that is the year 2020. While Carver B has also used careful shading techniques to attire their witch, they have ventured this year into far more flamboyant realms of artistry as well, creating a genuine kerosene flame in their gourdian dumpster. (Note, also, the careful safety preparations made for this exhibit, including a fire extinguisher held at the ready.) After all, there can truly be no image that more fully sums up this year than that of a raging, crackling pile of burning refuse, egged on by a creature whose heart is blacker than the gown she wears. (Make sure to watch the attached video to see the true splendor of Pumpkin B in action.)

And now, without further ado, cast your vote!

Voting will close around 9pm Pacific Time on Saturday, October 31st.

But we're not done yet! Seven-year-old Kitty joined her parents in this year's carving, and while she is not eligible to participate in the contest yet and any votes for her pumpkin will be ignored, we couldn't help but show you the fantastic pumpkin she designed and carved (mostly by herself)! We love it. A fierce kitty designed by a fierce Kitty; what could be more fitting?


  1. You guys outdid yourself!

    I love all three pumpkin, but I hereby cast my vote FOR Pumpkin B.

    1. I didn't see the poll in the other browser so just to be clear, the above vote is mine and I did NOT vote in the poll on the blog post just in the comment above.

  2. Look forward to this every year!
    Pumpkin A!

  3. This is a tough one. The Zoom one is adorable, and really well-done with all the detail, but watching that flaming dumpster fire is the perfect encapsulation of this year, and the witch is a nice touch.

  4. Tough one!!! I love the Zoom one with all its details. The flaming dumpster fire captures my attention, a bit more. I love the flame in the dumpster. The witch is a perfect pair with the dumpster. Well done!! Love the fierce kitty!

  5. Thomas & Daniel both vote for Pumpkin A. Hannah votes for B. Always so difficult to choose just one! (I already voted in the poll.)

  6. Bryan votes for 2020 Dumpster Fire.