Saturday, October 30, 2021

And The Winner Is…

I’m getting this post in later than expected thanks to a fun family stargazing excursion tonight, but… here’s the news you’ve all been waiting for!

After another tense week of voting, I sat down to tally the results, and… found myself running into technical difficulties. As a result, I (frustratingly enough) can’t give the exact final vote count, but I CAN still pronounce a winner—and say that, as far as I could tell, the margin of victory was EXTREMELY narrow. (In fact, if I counted only the votes off social media and not the blog, it was literally 1 point different!)

The winner of this year’s pumpkin carving contest is…

Pumpkin B!

It was a fierce battle, but ultimately the beast from the watery depths gained the upper hand over the creatures of flame.

And along with that knowledge, I can share: I carved this one! I’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out, honestly. It was a tough one, and I really thought the kraken would fall out several times during carving (those tentacles are DELICATE!)—but ultimately, it all worked out beautifully.

Until next year, friends!

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Time To Vote In The 15th Annual Baldwin Pumpkin Carving Contest!

 The days are getting shorter, the weather’s turning colder, and the streets are lined with ghosts and ghoulies—which means it’s officially time for…

The 15th annual Baldwin Pumpkin Carving Contest!

A tradition that predates our marriage, the contest began in October 2007, when Mahon and I were “just friends” and all our unexpressed need for flirtation came out as extreme competitiveness. For fifteen Halloweens, we’ve kept this tradition alive despite equipment malfunctions, bitter defeats, and the fact that honestly, neither of us really loves carving pumpkins. 😂 Every year we talk about maybe skipping it, but we can never bear to let all ten of our very ardent fans down!

This year the stakes are higher than ever, as both of us have brought new tools to the table. Folks, this is a pumpkin carving contest like you’ve never seen it before! A few quick ground rules before we get to the voting:

1. Sadly, 8 year old Kitty is barred from the contest again this year. She’s not quite yet to the point of carving without help—plus, we all know for sure that if Kitty’s pumpkin can easily be identified she’ll sweep the contest without question, since everyone loves her best. 😂 Soon , though, we think she’ll be ready to enter!

2. Only one vote per person. You can cast a vote through or embedded poll, vote via the comments on this post, or vote on one of the official social media voting posts (there will be one each on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter). If you cast an anonymous vote in the comments please sign it, as we won’t count unsigned anonymous votes.

3. All photography and descriptions are by me. Because I did all the photography, Mahon took charge of all the special effects (fire and water). So while you can see his arm in one pumpkin’s photos, that doesn’t mean it’s his pumpkin. 😉 (He’s in the background controlling the water of the other competitor.)

4. If you know—or have a guess—who carved which pumpkin, DON’T TELL! The secret is part of the fun.

I’ll close voting on Saturday the 30th by 9pm Pacific Time.

Without further ado—the pumpkins, my dear witches and werewolves!

Our theme this year was “mythical creatures.”

Important note: Both of these contenders are shown to their best advantage via video. However, I've been having trouble correctly embedding videos this year, particularly on mobile view. If you don't see a video pop up below the pictures for each entry, there will be a direct link to Youtube where you can view the videos.

First up, Pumpkin A, titled “Fighting Fire With Fire”

(If you can't see a video above, click here.)

This year’s Pumpkin A is a scene of fire, fury, and ferociousness, as two creatures of flame—a dragon and a phoenix—fight it out for Halloween supremacy. With intricate carving and a truly out-of-the-gourd vision, Carver A has created a landscape that cannot help but ignite the imagination. The scene shows a scorching showdown between Fawkes the Phoenix, sent by the forces of good to steal a precious artifact from an evil dragon, and the dragon herself, determined to protect her hoard. Candles alone were not enough for Carver A this year—instead, they’ve incorporated multiple forms of fire to create a truly explosive vista. Particularly noteworthy are the incredible details the carver has included, such as the delicate feathers on the phoenix’s outstretched wings, the flames carved into the pumpkin base… and, of course, the blowtorch-created jet of flame streaming from the dragon’s mouth. Who will win this blazing battle? Only time—and your vote—can tell.

Next we have Pumpkin B, titled—what else? “Release The Kraken!”

(If you can't see the two videos above, follow these links:
Video 1, nighttime
Video 2, daylight)

Throughout mythology, few cryptids loom quite so large in our imaginations as the kraken. This monstrous denizen of the deep has haunted the nightmares of sailors for hundreds of years, stalked across the pages of our books and the frames of our television screens—and now, it is unleashed in all its glory on this year’s Pumpkin B. The carver of Pumpkin B has used two gourds to achieve their vision—the sea beast, glorious and grim, lifting its tentacles to pull down the unwary pirate ship into the depths of the abyss. To truly represent the kraken’s might and power, Carver B has harnessed the powers of both fire and water—observe the fountain in the background. Zoom in on the photo and you’ll even see that the kraken has tiny suckers on the undersides of its tentacles! Truly, this fell creature has set its sights not only on the doomed pirates above… but also on your vote.

Time to cast your vote!

Voting closes in the evening on Saturday, October 30th.

And, of course, while 8-year-old Kitty isn’t eligible for the contest this year, we wanted to be sure to show off her pumpkin. (For those asking when she’ll be allowed to enter: She has to get to the point where a) she’s carving them herself instead of having Daddy carve the pumpkins she’s designed, and b) her designs aren’t so easily distinguished from ours. Right now if we let her enter everyone would be able to identify her pumpkin and she’d sweep the contest because everyone likes her best!) 

Titled “Creatures In The Moonlight,” its haunting vista shows a phoenix, a pegasus, and a dragon, all suspended under a glowing orange harvest moon. Because her parents both incorporated elements into their designs, Kitty decided that her element was going to be "Earth," represented by the artistic dusting of dirt on the lower rim of the pumpkin. Her creation is topped off by the cutest little miniature pumpkin you ever did see, adding an extra dollop of artistic flare.