Since last year’s pumpkin carving was so much fun, we decided to give it a go again this year. We were at a loss for ideas until Halloween day when Jenni brought out her pirate paraphernalia. Then it was as easy as walking the plank…
We picked up a pumpkin for 9 cents per pound at our favorite grocer WinCo a week ago. We liked that he had a flat face, which made it easier to design and carve. The stem was a good shape too, although when I’d pick it up by the stem, I’d hear some cracking sounds.
I never really carved pumpkins as a child, probably because handling knives were too dangerous for me. Then again, I never found it that fun because I was never able to get the faces I wanted. I saw crazy designs around the neighborhood when I trick-or-treated and felt intimidated to try it out on my own. And when I did, I was always disappointed at the simplicity. I think soon after, I resorted to just drawing with a felt pen on the pumpkin.
But with “Winky,” our pumpkin last year, I tried a few different approaches and some tips from Jennilyn. We were able to create a fun-loving pumpkin that my dad enjoyed. With good o’ Jack this year, we tried more teeth and also incorporating a pirate theme. Jenni likes pirates.
From Jenni’s suggestion, I cut the hole on top differently this year. As I cut toward the back, I would go further down, so it would give me more room to clean up the guts of the pumpkin. Pulling out the guts is a pretty slimy affair, but it’s great to get the pumpkin seeds for snacking later on. The most back-tiring part is standing over the pumpkin and carving its walls to get all the stringy guts out.
Then the fun begins. We take a pencil and sketch out the design we’re looking for on paper and on the pumpkin surface itself. After chunking out the evil eyebrow, we worked on carving out the right eye. I use techniques used in drawing cartoon eyes, cutting out the whites of the eye, cutting around the pupil.
Then to help the pupil stand out, I cut off the skin off the pumpkin. If I was perfectionist, I would make the pupil chunk thinner so that the light of the candle would show through more. Then again, sometimes if I hack at something long enough, I’ll mess it up, so I left the eye as is.
Next was the mouth. I started cutting deep and almost messed up when Jenni reminded me that I need to leave some teeth in. So Captain Jack didn’t need dentures because of Jenni. I tried to make the mouth as close to a figure eight as possible. The original design had two teeth on the bottom that were further out than the top teeth, but after carving the top right tooth too small, I decided to balance the mouth out with three teeth on the bottom.
To add some sparkle to a rather dim-lookin’ pirate, Jenni took some aluminum foil to give Jack a silver-looking tooth. It probably would’ve looked better with gold foil, but hey, we use what we have. The aluminum foil gave the one tooth a little more personality. We thought about blacking out a tooth, but it wouldn’t have much effect when the lights are out. Next, it was to take care of the other eye, what people would see if the patch was removed. Since it’s covered, it should be something for people to peek at.
Our original thought was to have a small hole to shine some light through the eye-patch. But it wasn’t enough. As I cut the hole, Jenni got the idea for a scar along the left eye, so we gave him two. Again, I think if we carved a little deeper, more light could highlight the scars.
Lastly, we added some ears so we can put on an earring. I used the piece I took out from the mouth to form the ears. Jenni took out her eye-patch and pirate hat. I tossed in one of our kitchen knives, and we lit the candle inside. All right mateys, we have our very own, Captain Jack… O’ Lantern.