Posts tagged ‘pumpkin carving’

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.

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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

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