Some people simply lose their minds when it comes to Halloween … I am not one of those people. In fact, I generally don’t like dressing up in a costume and I definitely don’t like putting stuff on my face. Drama club never had a shot at me …
But a lot of that changed once I had a child, which should be obvious to anyone (unless you are a heartless jerk). My daughter loves Halloween – as do all children. Maybe it’s fun for them to dress up but if I’m being honest, it’s all about the candy. Even I would put on some sucky grocery store costume (I actually went as this once when I was a kid) so that I could go get that candy. As a child, there are some easy to understand economics at play here …
The harder you worked it …
… the more candy you got.
It was the one time a year when my parents would send me out, with my two barely older sisters, and we could literally get all the candy there was in the neighborhood. Forget using plastic pumpkins to collect the candy, I used a pillowcase!
There’s a story that is somewhat legendary in my house that’s associated with Halloween candy. After my sisters and I would return from trick-or-treating, we would sit down in the living room and sort through all the candy we collected. This had two objectives – the first was that my parents wanted to make sure there wasn’t any candy laced with razor blades. That apparently was a big concern when I was a kid. Candy and razor blades (who knew?) The second objective was so that my sisters and I could compare, bargain, and trade our candy with one another. For example, one Hersey’s bar was worth four Sweet Tart packets (which had three individual candies per packet). I was all about quantity over quality and I would make that trade in a heartbeat! Still would today as a matter or fact.
So, starting immediately, I would start eating my candy … and I wouldn’t stop until I couldn’t go on, or I ran out of candy. That’s where my sister Barbara would come in (for the record, my sister Barbara is wildly successful to this day and this was just an early example of what was to come). Barbara wouldn’t eat her candy … she’d save it.
… and then sell it to me.
Ugh! She would set all her candy up in her closet, arranged by price like it was a store – and then sit in front of her open closet door, waiting for me to come and buy it from her. Which is exactly what I would do … until I ran out of money. So what would young pre-architect Bob Borson do? What any self-respecting kid would do –
I stole some of Barbara’s candy when she wasn’t manning the store. Unfortunately for me, my sister actually kept inventory and I was eventually busted.
Like I said, kids like candy.
Anyways, once Kate became old enough to start enjoying Halloween, she started asking – begging – for me to start dressing up in costume. The somewhat now infamous picture above is the first Halloween costume I’ve worn since I was in the 6th grade. This was Halloween 2008 and I was ‘Unit D-400’ and my daughter Kate was ‘Spider-Girl’ … but a robotic version (obviously).
I went looking for pictures of pumpkins that I’ve carved in the past – surprisingly, I don’t have that many pictures of pumpkins but this is the earliest picture I could find. (2004)
In 2012, my wife and daughter convinced me to put makeup in my face. I hated it but my daughter loved it, and isn’t that why we do this … for the kids? No, we actually do it for the candy so this was the last time I put makeup on my face.
Medieval architect (2013) – now this is my sort of Halloween costume. Might I have been filled with Meade? Verily.
Cleary you can now see – evidenced by terrible photos – that Halloween costumes are not my thing. Maybe carving Halloween Pumpkins is my thing?
Doubtful, but let’s give it a go. Every year we carve pumpkins and I’m going to admit that there’s some self-applied pressure to do a good job carving pumpkins because I am a creative person by profession! I’m not just some guy in the next cubicle, I am a professional, extensively trained in the visual arts and clearly, my skills have advance beyond carving pumpkins. At least that’s what I tell myself.
But I am kinda specific about how I go about carving my pumpkins – they need to be specific to me, so I thought I would share my patent-pending, trademarked process for creating what I like to call “Bob Pumpkins.”
It starts with a blank piece of paper –
I draw a dozen or so pumpkin-ish shaped circles so that I have some sort of base to work on. Proper Halloween pumpkins are irregularly shaped – save the perfectly round ones for Cinderella.
The next step is that I draw in mouth and eyes – rarely do I add a nose. The trick here is you have to make audible sounds as you are drawings these mouths. I am literally saying:
“Yaahahheerggghhglalagghhh” as I draw the jacked up mouths. I am also a fan of jacked up eyes – preferably two different sizes and shapes.
The final step is to add some color because I need to convince my family that one of these pumpkins will be awesome and I need to sell it.
This was one of last years pumpkins – I was going for a Sleestak and I have to admit, I got pretty close. I actually found the sketch I made as part of my design process (what did we do before Instagram? It has seriously become my online photo document/diary).
So here are last years batch of pumpkins. My wife actually carved the one on the far left, I did the one in the middle, and my daughter and I teamed up for the one on the right. I did all the work, she was there strictly in a management capacity.
So here are the pumpkins from Halloween 2013. Mine is the one on the left – but I probably didn’t have to tell you that, did I? You are probably becoming familiar with the technique known as “Bob Pumpkins” as it is very recognizable in style.
Do I even need to tell you which one is mine? (it’s the one on the left).
So, despite the repetitiveness of “Bob Pumpkins”, I like the way they look and I am already looking forward to carving another one this year. But should everyone expect to think that Architects have some innate ability to carve pumpkins? I’m not entirely sure, so I decided to send an email out to a few of my friends and ask them to send me pictures of any pumpkins that they have carved in the past – just so that I could show them to you and let you make up your own mind.
In no particular order:
I’m not entirely sure that I have shown that architects are predisposed to be natural pumpkin carving designers. Before any of you go nuts are start talking about the trend that’s developed over the last several years where you can get a book of designs, stick it on the front of a pumpkin, and become a master pumpkin carver … that’s not anything special. Anybody can do that. What I am referring to is sitting down with a blank pumpkin, and coming up with something yourself, and then making it appear on a pumpkin. I don’t count those paper templates in any capacity – it’s pumpkin-carving trickery!!
I would like to see the pumpkins that other people carve so if you are of a mind, feel free to send me a picture. In the meantime, feel free to judge the pumpkins I’ve shown in this post – these folks get credit in ‘Bob’s Bank of Karma’ since I only sent the email out asking for pictures of pumpkins just a few hours ago.
Let me see those pumpkins! This is really a challenge to architecture students – you of all people should be designing and carving some kick-ass pumpkins.