Posts tagged ‘Halloween’

A Gallery of Jack-o-Lanterns


This carving by grad student Han-Wei Shih won Best in Show.

I get the impression that the Arboretum’s second annual pumpkin festival was a success, judging by the more than 300 jack-o-lanterns that people entered and by the steady stream of people checking out the pumpkins on Friday and Saturday night.

A couple of the jack-o-lanterns that stood out for me stood out for the judges, too, apparently. The pumpkin above, with its top carved into a flower to adorn its “hair,” was judged Best in Show. A Penn State grad student in plant biology, Han-Wei Shih, was the artist behind it.

The turtle I showed you earlier ended up winning first prize in the Adult category; it was the work of Beth Hendershot. Second prize in that category went to a Hogwarts-esque castle scene by Corrine Webster, below:

Below is a slide show of some of the pumpkins that caught my eye, including a couple of owls, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Blue from Blue’s Clues, and a Joe Paterno-themed pumpkin. There’s also an entry in which art education grad student Kevin Slivka used two pumpkins to create a skeletal arm and hand—pretty clever.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tina Hay, editor

October 22, 2012 at 10:13 am 1 comment

Pumpkin Artistry


A panorama of carved pumpkins. Click to see larger.

I stopped over to the Arboretum last evening to check out this year’s edition of the pumpkin festival, and—as was the case last year—saw some pretty creative and artistic jack-o-lanterns. I’ll try to post a gallery of photos before the weekend is out, but here are a few that caught my eye. This turtle, carved by Beth Hendershot, showed some great craftsmanship:


And it starts to look pretty cool when lit up at dusk:


Here’s a rather interesting face carved by a Penn State student, Shin Han-Wei:


And here are two jack-o-lanterns that got a lot of oohs and ahhs when lit up last night. First, a parody of Ecce Homo, the Spanish painting that was infamously “restored” this past August. It was carved by Nathaniel Hromnak:


And finally, here’s a tribute to Arboretum director Kim Steiner, credited to Ray Marsh and the Penn State campaign communications office (April Scimio ’84 of that office did a lot of the craftwork on it):


The jack-o-lanterns will be lit up for display again tonight from 6 to 10 pm at the Arboretum. Admission is free.

Tina Hay, editor

October 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm 1 comment

Calling All Pumpkin Carvers

A (very) small sampling of last year’s entries.

I was psyched to see that the Arboretum at Penn State is bringing back its Pumpkin Festival that was such a hit (and such a great photo opportunity) last year.

This coming Sunday and Monday, anyone who wants to try their hand at carving a pumpkin can pick one up at the Arboretum—or buy their own elsewhere, if the Arboretum’s supply of 750 runs out. Carve it, brring it back next Thursday or Friday, and the resulting jack-o-lanterns will be lit up and on display next Friday and Saturday (the 19th and 20th). There’ll be judging on Saturday.

I don’t think I’ve ever done much more with a pumpkin than use a sharp kitchen knife to create a basic face. One year I did three small pumpkins as “mad,” “sad,” and “glad” and thought I was pretty clever. That was before I saw the pumpkins at the Arboretum’s pumpkin festival last year. There was some amazing artistry; you can see a photo album from last year on the magazine’s Facebook page.

More information about the pumpkin festival, including a timetable and the rules, can be found on the Arboretum’s website.

October 12, 2012 at 8:52 am 2 comments

Some Impressive Pumpkin Carving

On Saturday evening, an hour or so before the Penn State-Northwestern game, I stopped by the Arboretum to check out its first-ever Pumpkin Festival. I figured there might be some fun jack-o-lanterns to photograph, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The last time I carved a pumpkin, I did it the standard way: hollow out the thing, then saw through the front to make some scary/comical eyes, a triangle-shaped nose, and about four teeth. I didn’t know there was any other way.

But the people who entered the Arboretum’s contest are waaaaaaay more creative than I am. There were some very cool jack-o-lanterns on display, including this one, which was judged Best in Show:


Jenny-LeThe creature is a “werecat” (like a werewolf but, well, a werecat instead). As I was photographing it, its creator happened to stop by: Her name is Jenny Le and she’s a senior at Bellefonte High School. That’s Jenny in the photo at left. She says she sculpted the werecat with a one-dollar pumpkin-carving kit she bought at Weis Markets—and, evidently, a lot more talent than I ever showed in high school art class.

The event was a lot of fun; it was held on the lawn of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens at the Arboretum, and it included free popcorn, apples, and hot chocolate, as well as a chance to stroll around and admire the carved pumpkins. The Arboretum had given away more than 500 pumpkins the previous week, and participants brought back 268 carved entries for judging and viewing.

There was a wide range of designs, from the standard scary-face pumpkins to ones that reflected the interests of their creators (one person, for example, carved the Colorado Rockies’ logo into the face of their pumpkin). There were some renderings of famous people, like Albert Einstein…


…and even Steve Jobs, done by Megan Wu:


(Note the iPod carved into the side of the pumpkin.)

I thought that this 3D rendering of a skull was exceptionally well done, and looked especially cool when lit up:


I have no idea how you would carve something like that. But it’s great.

You can see the full list of winners at the Arboretum’s Pumpkin Festival page, and I’ve posted an album of a dozen or so photos of the jack-o-lanterns on the magazine’s Facebook page. Enjoy!

Tina Hay, editor

October 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm 1 comment

Women’s Volleyball Team Continues to Roll


Coach Russ Rose imparts wisdom in the huddle.

Ah, the scouting report. Of everything that changed for Cathy Quilico and Alyssa D’Errico when they moved from high school volleyball to collegiate powerhouse Penn State, that’s what stands out. They’d never seen anything like it. The first time you try to read it, said D’Errico, a junior defensive specialist for the two-time defending NCAA champions, “it’s like gobbledygook.”

It’s got all of the opponent’s traditional volleyball statistics. It’s got the opponent’s tendencies broken down by every player, every rotation—the coaches watch up to 10 games of each opponent to make sure they’ve seen every single thing they can see. It’s even got statistics that Coach Russ Rose and his staff have, essentially, invented.

Nothing is left to chance, not even the presentation of the information. The team digests the scouting report in multiple ways. Via video, for the visual learners. With walk-throughs, for those who learn better by doing. And in printed form, for the players who need to see things written down.

There’s one statistic not accounted for, however: consecutive victories. And that number is astonishing: with their victory over seventh-ranked Minnesota on Friday night, the top-ranked Nittany Lions increased their winning streak to 88.


Megan Hodge (right) had 19 kills---only five fewer than the entire Minnesota team.

That tied them for the fourth-longest streak in any NCAA sport with one of the greatest teams in collegiate history: the 1971-74 UCLA men’s basketball team, coached by the legendary John Wooden.

Rose hates to focus on anything but the next match, but even he entertained a question about the streak, saying, “If you’re in coaching and your name is in a conversation and John Wooden is in the conversation, you pinch yourself.”

Rose and Wooden have more than the 88-game winning streak in common. Wooden was known for his undemonstrative behavior on the bench during games; he always said his job was preparing his players during practice, and that he didn’t want them to look to him for answers during a game. Rose is equally low-key; you’ll never see him jumping up and down on the sideline. He spends much of the game scribbling in a notebook, compiling the figures and trends that help him to prepare the team and make adjustments as needed.

Oh, and making sure that the players are positioned where the scouting report indicated. “If you’re in the wrong place,” Quilico said, grinning, “he will tell you. Very loudly.”

Rose and his players don’t get caught up in the hype; neither D’Errico nor Quilico has any idea how many games the team has won in a row or, for that matter, what its record is this season. (24-0, 12-0 Big Ten, for the record.) They don’t look behind. They look ahead only as far as the next game.

Friday night, that took a nearly superhuman effort. There were plenty of distractions.


WALL-E was a crowd favorite.

It was Halloween, so lots of fans came in costume; the big winner at the “halftime” contest was someone dressed as the Pixar character WALL-E, which you can see on the left in a photo by our graphic designer, Jessica Knuth, who took all of the pictures here. The golden pharaoh in the background was also a crowd favorite. The men’s soccer team wowed everyone with a “volleyball” game during the break; the players batted the ball back and forth with their feet and heads.

And the record? Joining an elite club with the UCLA men’s basketball team? That wasn’t anything the Nittany Lions were concerned with. Quilico, a junior defensive specialist who hails from Southern California, knew only that Wooden has a basketball court named after him at UCLA. D’Errico knew that her mother, who coaches a club volleyball team, makes her players read Wooden’s insights on competition.

“He was a big reason that team was able to do what it did,” D’Errico said of Wooden. “Just like Coach is for us.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

November 1, 2009 at 10:13 pm 1 comment

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