The Pumpkin Carving Showdown

Happy (almost) Halloween! While there are lots of wonderful things happening in the fall, pumpkin carving is one of my favorites! I hope that you’ve been getting a kick every year out of all our Halloween-Pumpkin Decorating & Carving contest over the past years. And if you’re new to our scary tradition we hope that you will enjoy it this upcoming year!

Creativity comes in all sorts of ways, and I’ll be celebrating the spooky holiday for a few weeks in a row  by mixing up a festive cocktails, decorating my house, or getting my tools ready for my winning pumpkin.

Our holiday tradition is a memorable one that started 6 years ago by suggesting carving or decorating some pumpkins for halloween with the in-laws. Not only is it Husker football season we pair that with great food.

This idea of carving/decorating pumpkins quickly escalated into a competitive life or death contest.  Nick & his dad can carve the best pumpkins, they could actually go on the Food Network with the pumpkin carvers and probably win something. 

Pictured below this would be our first year pumpkins. Sad but true, these sad looking hobbits was what we thought at the time were masterpieces. And to nobody’s surprise a nine year old beat out all of the adults. Now that I look back at these, I honestly don’t know which ones were the adults. (except mine the “bedazzled” one as Lisa calls it) so SAD.

Featured below is this adorable ghost that took first place. ~ Grabast Family Win

The goal of our contest was to carve or decorate the best pumpkin. But then the problem arose who would be the judge? Then…. (lightbulb goes off) someone suggests let facebook be the judges! So we took to numbering them and upload them into a folder on social media, nobody knows who created what pumpkin till 24 hours have passed, we allow all our friends or family to vote on which one they think deserves to win, the pumpkin with the most thumbs WIN! Within 24 hours we have a winner.

By the time the year two rolled around we knew as adults we really needed to up the game and beat out the kids so we rounded up a few more family members to play and upped the ante with cash payout. Thats when things got real. When we are talking an extra $20 dollars in your pocket for the week, I tell you the gloves come off.

Husker football and pumpkin carving/decorating just go hand in hand with this tradition. We pull out carving tools, brightly colored paints, and every size of paintbrush that Hobby Lobby offers.

Hours of making fun of each others ideas and hiding in our own little corners with our prize pumpkins, prepared to proudly display them for the winning photo soon to be uploaded to the intranet machine. We all have our own ideas of how-to-win. Despicable Me was the #1 box office movie, and Chris took the win with his minion that year. Do we know thats why? No! but of course there is always speculation of how that person won that year. ~Grabast Family win

And just like that year three was here. There was already a lot of text chain messages of who was winning before anyone even started.  And of course with me being not only competitive and a graphic designer to-boot, I couldn’t win these dang contests! As you already probably know, this was getting frustrating.

After hours & I mean hours of carving, painting and good ole’ ribbing of who was going to win this years cash prize you will never guess it! Much to our surprise..This damn black cat that took literally 5 minutes for Lisa (sister-in-law) to put together, won the whole dang round!

She literally walked out 4 hours after everyone started their own pumpkins, grabbed two pumpkins, sprayed them black and created this damn cat.  Now you probably know how this went down without me even writing about it. ~Grabast Family win

Ahhh 2015 this HAD to be the year for a win for our family, not only because we need the win it would be a hometown win on top of.  I remember sitting around the table a week before this was going to take place, and collaborating on how to take the win from the Grabast family.

Icecream Sundae wins 2015

And guess what? 2015 was the year to take control and this year was even more special because Lisa (sister-in-law) decided not only was we going to win $$ she thought it was a good idea to make an official pumpkin carving trophy. A trophy? Say whaaaaahh. And this was the year I won my first pumpkin decorating/carving contest. I remember what had happened to me the year before with a 5 min black cat taking the win, and that wasn’t going to happen this year. 

I waited till everyone was just about done with all of their pumpkins, went to the end of the driveway with my three colors of spray paint, a small tin bucket & my spray foam and went to town. Jerry (father-in-law) carved over two hours (see below)

decided to come check out my project, he looked down at me as I slowly looked up from what I was doing and gave him a big grin (ya’ll know that grin) while holding my can of spray foam. I really thought he was going to kick my masterpiece down.  (He knew at that point I had him) And so we closed out 2015 with the ice cream sundae win.
~ Allbaugh Family win

By the time year 2016 rolled around, with a trophy back at stake, game was on. Just like football, this was an away game, taking place in Lawerence, KS. I knew we needed to make sure we took this win also. Feels great if you can get a “W” away.  What felt like $200 dollars later of supplies (lets get real here it was $200) needed to make your winning pumpkin, the rivalry was back on.

Pumpkin Theater Popcorn

This year, the kids kicked up the creativity and it was all on war with the adults. From Winnie the Pooh, Cookie Monster, and a mini Mario who was gonna win this?!

This was one of my favorite years, it was a tough all out battle on social media of who was gonna win this round. But in the end, to my surprise, my freshly popped bag of popcorn that was used to top off my theater pumpkin WON! 

Here I am holding the 2016 trophy. I can’t believe I am taking it home to the trophy case again this year.
~ Allbaugh Family win

And just like that we are back in our hometown for the 2017 great pumpkin contest, and since we were back in C-Town, came more family to play. This was a year of full on decorating and carving. As you can see everyone put every ounce of creativity into this. We even had the newest member to the gang, my 2 year old niece. She joined right in just like she had been doing it forever!

Some prefer to sketch out their pumpkin masterpiece, some prefer to use Pinterest as inspiration. Lots and lots of spray paint colors have been used.

And since this is a blind competition we truly don’t know which direction this is going to go, you just hope that you made the most creative pumpkin to win! I don’t think to anyones surprise (snicker) who won for the third straight row. Yes, thats right, I did. Now, to be honest here, did I think I was going to win this, no way, I mean look at the Finding Nemo pack & the peanut, and with IT being in the top box office how could the IT characters not win? So now as the 2018 contest is closing in, nobody knows which way this will turn. Who will be the 2018 trophy winner?

I will update this blog sometime in the next five years if you don’t happen to see the full contest on facebook. 

I hope you enjoyed our family tradition as much as we do. ~Much Love Kara 


Petroleum Jelly

Carving pumpkins can be a time-consuming and sometimes laborious activity. The last thing you want to see is your masterpiece shrivel up or start to mold, especially before the holiday is even here. Don’t worry, there’s a hack for that! Not only is petroleum jelly a quintessential beauty product, but it can also be used to preserve your carved pumpkins. After you’re finished carving, coat the inside of your pumpkin with a thin layer of petroleum jelly. That way, your jack-o-lantern will last until trick-or-treating.