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31st October 2016
Article: Pumpkin Carving on Halloween

Admittedly October 31st was always a weird day for me. I grew up in London where Halloween is... well, it's a thing but not a huge thing. It really depends on if your family is into it or not, and for my family Halloween was always considered more of an American event. That's not to say that I never had a Halloween but I had a very non-typical one. Growing up I'd usually hear about kids who went to door to door in search for sweets or had "scary" family parties in creepy costumes. For me, Halloween was about watching my cat Tabbs, sitting on our van roof, booping people on the head as they went past. At nine in the evening, Trick or Treating when would be declared over and we'd eat vasts amount of chocolate which had been bought in for small children.

This year was a little different. This year there were pumpkins!

Pumpkin carving has always a weird concept to me. You're basically getting a pretty ridged fruit (vegetable? fruit?) then taking away all of the juicy parts so you're left with the only piece of the fruit/vegetable you can't eat, and then you stab it with holes and set it on fire. Not going to lie, it's slightly weird. It's definitely traditional though and something I had never actually done. So I got a two pumpkins, one for a classic creepy face, and one for The Sudden Stop.

Before we get into it, can I just say how creepy these instructions are...

"Stick and cut out eyes and mouth" less cute pumpkin carving techniques for kids, more stabby.... or instructions how to make your very own Prince Philip mask. Both ideas far to scaremongering to be included on a label in a supermarket.

In total we brought back four, small traditional pumpkins from the store which had pre-assembled faces made out of black tape. Look how happy they were!
After trying my hand at my first pumpkin carving (and admittedly stabbing my hand at my first pumpkin carving) I moved on to my second which I had reserved for this article. I was a little unsure at first whether to go for the Alan Wake silhouette or the Monarch Solutions logo.  The first pumpkin resolved that issue, when I realised that the outside was particularly tough. A few days later, I also did some pumpkin carving with my friend's eleven and seven year old kids. (I say "with" but anyone with kids will know how the evening went). They are genuinely cool people though and they liked designing the faces between playing costume games. The pumpkin the eldest had claimed, both looked and smelled like honeydew melon and which had very soft shell. In comparison, this pumpkin required sharper knives and louder war cries.

In any case, this was the pumpkin I had chosen...
And here was me taking a well deserved and a not-at-all-awkwardly timed break....
Annnnnd finally I managed to carve the hole in the top. Looking back, I should have perhaps done it at less of an incline so when the candle dried the top, the lid wouldn't shrink as much as it did and fall in. Out of the four pumpkins it was our first victim.
If Silent Hill made fruit it would be a pumpkin. Only pumpkins. They have a weird gloopy, stringy texture inside which takes a while to get used to. I don't know who came up with carving pumpkins, but I don't think they had many friends.
Okay onto the actual design! As the skin was tough I went for a simple Monarch Solutions logo design. I also really like the look of it!

You can also see in the photo where I stabbed myself with the previous carving. It was a pretty sharp and small knife but it didn't actually cause a lot of damage. It was more like a needle prick. I'm not actually that great around needles so I may have written a Will between washing it and applying the bandage, but it wasn't too bad. OH! I did actually break my toe this past week though, and went on to make three plates of nachos before realising that it may be broken, so my pain tolerance may be at heroic levels this month. I did treat it in the very British manner of just ignoring it.
I did the original Monarch design in ballpoint pen before deciding to wing it once it started to have issues drawing on the skin. I don't think it looks too bad! I did tidy it up a little bit later, so it did go through some improvements before the end.
 Before I did any changes to the logo though, I wanted to create some very simple fracture-like patterns on the side. Nothing fancy but something which would let more of the light out. 
Did I mention how I stabbed myself and how I was very brave?
The bravest.

Once the logo was cleaned up a little more and the design was ready, I made sure the base was flat enough to hold the tea-light safely and before putting the candle in. Next up, fire!
Look at it being all majestic and stuff!
OH! And this was my other pumpkin...
All four of them together! I love the cheerful vampire (not mine) in the middle, he always looks so happy to be there.

Happy Halloween! 

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