Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin contest

My department at work hosts a pumpkin decorating contest every year. You have to use two of the candy corn-flavored little pumpkins (which are provided). You can use them alone or in conjunction with other items.

In 2006, I took 3rd place with my rendition of "Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin." Ron was in the hospital right before Halloween so I had to take a picture, while at the hospital, during the showing of The Great Pumpkin with my phone. I wasn't too impressed with how it came out, but it was cute.

Last year, I took 1st place with my version of Jack-O-Lantern Training. I spent quite a bit of time on it, carving out the real pumpkin for the "training center." I had no idea the moisture in the bottom of the pumpkin would melt my marshmallow bodies, so the night before I was to bring the display, I had to re-think how I was going to have the attendees seated. I ended up with the candy and cookie "cobblestone" patio. The agendas were probably the thing that won the contest for me, as they were quite detailed.

This year, I knew that I wanted to do something equally as detailed but wasn't entirely sure what. I got some feedback from Amy and Kris. I had thought originally about doing a "take" on the Monster Mash song, but changing it to Pumpkin Mash instead. I wanted to create a ballroom and have the pumpkins dancing. I didn't know how to make the music though and that is essential for the plot to be understood.

Kris suggested a Pumpkin Election, with Palin and Biden as the pumpkins. I thought about having a lot of clothing around Palin since there's so much controversy over her wardrobe. I couldn't think of anything for Biden (except him being in the doctor's office) so I scratched that idea. Plus, the submission has to be in good taste and I think politics, even funny, might not be considered good taste.

She also suggested an election for the next Great Pumpkin. I thought maybe the "gourds" could try to take over because "Great Gourd" sounds better than Great Pumpkin. That idea got scratched too because Amy thought I was going to use her gourds. (Who, me? Nah...) Among her other suggestions was a pumpkin spa and a crime scene with a smashed pumpkin.

I opted to go for the smashed pumpkin and decided to make it a "CSI" scene with Grissom, Brown, and Stokes. Amy thought of a race track with Cars-type cars going around. Isaiah has the track already and she bought him some cars, so she picked up some candy pumpkins, clay to make the seating area. I thought it was a cute idea but not sure it was in-depth enough to win a prize so I still was kicking around the CSI idea.

When I got home from Carthage on Sunday, she'd made the seating area and had drawn faces on all of the pumpkins. Wednesday night I decided to try my hand at creating the rest of the scene. Kris told me I should make a body bag and the little numbered stands that they use when marking off a crime scene. I made those out of orange paper and the body bag out of a piece of black trash bag. I colored a strip of paper with a yellow highlighter and wrote "Crime Scene Do Not Cross" all the way down it. I affixed that to stakes that were cut-off pieces of white toothpicks.

Next, I needed to smash a pumpkin (used one with a face) and decided to turn one of the cars over on top of it. I needed something to cause the accident so I created an oil slick running under the track and ending at where the "body" was found. I drew the body outline (just like in the cartoons), drew tire tracks over the body, and running away. In the cartoons, when cars run they do so on their rear tires. So, instead of having a long string of tire tracks, I have "footprint" tracks leading away with little pieces of pumpkin. I ended up with about six markers. The car that did the smashing is in the track, nearly wrecking into Lightning McQueen.

I have other cars around the tracks, a flag man, and several of the pumpkins with flags and signs that say "Pumpkins Rule" "Go Pumpkins" "Yea! Pumpkins" and "Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins". Other pumpkins are holding popcorn or sodas.

For the CSI crime scene, I have Grissom, Stokes, and Brown, complete with CSI shirts and their names. I couldn't figure out how to do a ball cap but that's ok. Grissom and Stokes have cameras, Stokes has a flashlight, and Brown has a notepad and pen. I was very pleased with it.

I won first place. There wasn't much competition but even if there had been, I think it would have taken a lot to beat me. Everyone loved it. I took a few pictures with my cell phone that I'll post for now, but one of my co-workers actually took pictures with his good camera (Canon digital with macro lens) so when he sends them to me this weekend I'll update.

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