Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Does this picture ring any bells? Just look to the right, if you want a hint. So, what am I doing posting about pumpkin carving? Don't I know that Halloween is the biggest satanic day of the year??? It is, for a lot of people, unfortunately. But we can use it as a force for good, or at least a little harmless fun, if handled the right way.

The debate about how Christians should treat Halloween (no pun intended!) continues. Farrah's dad, for example, is on the end of the spectrum that is totally against having anything to do with Halloween. No costumes, no pumpkins, no candy, no nothing. Give the devil no quarter (or M&Ms, for that matter). On the other end of the spectrum are those who celebrate it full-tilt, even though they know of its pagan, death-related origins.

Without straying off the main point of my post, I'll just state that my wife, son, and I just enjoy dressing up as superheroes, knights, fairies, etc..., carving pumpkins, and handing out candy. Not only don't we do any scary stuff, but we try to use the event as an opportunity to witness for the Lord. The primary way we witness on Oct. 31 is through our pumpkin carving. In fact, just today, my wife ran across a beautiful analogy between pumpkin carving and salvation! Be sure to check it out!

So enough background already. I thought I would show you a gallery of past carvings that our little family has done. We're no Michaelangelo or Rodin, but we're learning.

Pre-Digital Age

I believe we started carving pumpkins together in 2002, when Kylen was almost 3 years old. Of course, he wasn't old enough at first, or really interested, so our first efforts were strictly products of two grown-ups. Please forgive the bad quality of these photos, but I was lazy and just took digital pictures of the originals, while they were still in their albums! You may flog me when ready.


2005

With Kylen nearly 6, he was finally ready to really carve something, all by himself! You can see the cute result below. No, not the baby! The wolf-like creature! I think it may have been supposed to be a bear. Didn't he do a great job, though?

The baby is actually my wife's, who actually stuck a plastic binkie with rapidly flashing lights into its mouth. Unfortunately, late October weather is cold enough, over at our place, to kill most any small battery.

As for me, I decided to get brave and feed my superhero obsession, by carving Superman's insignia. To avoid fully cutting out the diamond shape that surrounds the S, I engulfed it in flames. In the end, it gave it a nice effect.

For lights, we finally settled on using a string of red C9 Christmas lights. We've used them every year since.


2006

Farrah and I were inspired to again carve something about the Lord. We stayed simple, but powerful... just like the Gospel itself!

If I remember correctly, I was trying too hard to give Kylen tips on how to draw on his pumpkin (I'm an incurable perfectionist). He got really upset and decided to just draw something on it, without carving anything. That's why the middle pumpkin has no lights. I'd like to say that I've learned from the experience, but Farrah and Kylen may disagree with my assessment.



2007

Ah, this was the Year of Green Lantern. After endless hours scouring the Internet for an adult-size Green Lantern costume (found one!), I just had to carve his logo on my pumpkin! Again, the rays of "light" prevent the logo from becoming fully separated. And, it just worked out that I had just gotten some red-and-green C9 Christmas lights, the previous year. The green ones gave it the perfect finishing touch.

Kylen carved a castle. His skills definitely improved, although he wasn't sure how to do that skinny roof, between the towers.

Farrah stuck with simple-but-powerful. How totally awesome (perfectly planned!) that such simple symbols as a cross and a heart can convey such a powerful message!


2008

And here we are, caught up to the present. Kylen's carving skills (see rightmost pumpkin) have skyrocketed. He did it all by himself! Although you cannot see it, there is lettering that says, "Jesus loves you."

Farrah read a little about making more delicate designs, by scraping off layers of the shell, allowing light to shine brighter, through the thinner areas. I let her be the guinea pig, because I was busy preparing for my homeschool co-op computer class. The middle pumpkin is hers, and you can see a close-up, further down. She did a great job!

I decided to get way brave, and actually try a real photo. I thought the one of Kylen as a baby, with the Bible, which I use on this blog, would be perfect. I opened it in Paint Shop Pro and reduced the number of colors to three: black, gray, and white (see bottom picture). I don't know if the pros actually project the picture onto the pumpkin, to make it easier, but I just drew it directly. Carving... err, scraping it wasn't too bad, though I had to use a melon baller and a paring knife, to augment my poorly designed plastic pumpkin scraper. And although I drew Kylen's right eye correctly, I accidentally scraped off its bottom part. Oops!


18 comments:

Nitewrit said...

Greg,

Wow, you guys are artists. Beautiful. I never got beyond the two triangle eyes and snaggle-toothed grins.

Larry

Great Googly Moogly! said...

I'm with you on Halloween, although Mrs. Moogly and I still enjoy some of the "scary" stuff, like watching the original Halloween on...well...Halloween! :-)

The pumpkin carvings are incredible. We weren't able to do anything this year since the pumpkin that we grew fit into my hand like a softball. Oh well...there's always next year!

BTW--Superman is too fake! How can you have one "superhero" who can do everything and is absolutely indestructible--except, of course, for the somehow ever present Kryptonite :-).

The Hulk has always been my favorite, but I also like Batman, Spider Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, Thor, AquaMan, etc. These characters all had some substantial issues and weaknesses. They are at least "credible" Super Heroes! :-)

Sarah said...

Wow! Wonderful pumpkin carving! The photo one is incredible!!

Farrah said...

Wow, Honey! I'll bet that post took some time! Your pumpkins are always the best-looking. I'm at a disadvantage with arthritis. :-( Always have to keep mine simple. Praise the Lord, anyway! :-)

thekingpin68 said...

Greg, thanks for the kind words on Jeff's blog. I have grown in my faith even with health, academic and other problems. I am not always happy but I am usually somewhat blessed.

I can state that both radical liberals and the radical right can be a pain, both on and off-line.

Russ:)

Yikes, Russ! Praise the Lord for carrying you through that. I'm sure God blessed you for it, and you never know who your witness may have helped.

Academia is by-and-large secular and liberal. I've been involved with a Jesuit (Catholic) university in our area, and you would think they would be pretty conservative. But the kind of garbage that goes on is very disheartening.

At the same time, some creationists are so gung-ho in the other direction, I think they lower the credibility of honest scientists that are truly seeking the truth.

Karla @ Ramblin' Roads said...

My pumpkin post is up... with a shout-out to you, as promised! You should go link up with "We are THAT Family" if you get a chance.

Poopsie said...

Those are some of the most awesome pumpkins ever!
Thank you for sharing!
Cindy P :)

We are THAT Family said...

Oh, my! You guys are like pumpkin arteests! Very nice and creative!

Tamela's Place said...

Hello Greg,

Them are some awesome pumpkin carvings. You all are a great family. I will have to agree with you when it comes to celebrating the season, it's what you make of it that counts.

jeleasure said...

Hey Greg,
I know you know that I am going to say wow!. So, you are not surprised, right?
I did not spend my day focused on Halloween. Instead, I chose to recognize that today is the 491st anniversary of Martin Luther's posting his challenge of the 95 theological errors of the Catholic Church.
I wrote one of my own challenges to the Catholic Church.
Hey, you are right when you say I will see more differences in you and Craig if I saw more pictures. But guess what, he looks different in other pictures, too. You guys still look alike.

Muthering Heights said...

Those are some great pumpkins!

Greg said...

Thanks for all your compliments! The Lord gets all the credit for the creativity. After all, every day belongs to Him and must reflect Him. :)

jeleasure said...

Hey Greg,
Here is another blogger friend to add to our network. His name is Larry. lmouser
Tell him I sent you so he can link up with you.
Jim

jeleasure said...

Hi Greg,
You have not had a chance to say hi to the first new blogger in our network yet. But, here is another one for you and Farrah.
Her name is Jody of Jody Lynne.
She is expecting that she will receive visits. Go ahead and tell her I sent you so you can exchange in hosting links.
Thanks,
Jim
I will send a personal invitation to Farrah, as well.

jeleasure said...

Hi Greg,
Say hello to novelist, Patricia Hickman. . Pass this on to Farrah, as well and ask if she would like to exchange in hosting links. I've been campaigning to add bloggers to our network.
Thanks,
Jim

Great Googly Moogly! said...

Hey Greg,

Thanks for the info on the HTML codes. I've been practicing and I think I'm getting the hang of it. No more ALL CAPS when I'm trying to emphasize a certain point.

Of course, now I'll probably go overboard with this! :-)

(which won't take long if I keep doing that)! :-)

DK said...

This is an awesome analogy!!!!! I love it...Thanks so much for sharing

Warren Baldwin said...

I'm kind of with you on this Halloween thing. It can be a fun family time if we leave it at that. My family did, and the kids seem to have survived just fine. And great art work!