The 2014 This Old House Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners (all 30)

this old house haunted pumpkin

For yet another year, enthusiastic pumpkin carvers put their imagination and skill to work shaping the orange squash into impressive creations for the annual This Old House Pumpkin Carving Competition. Here are the 29 finalists and 2014’s grand prize winner.

For the 7th annual contest, they received 450 entries, from which the editors of This Old House online chose 29 finalists and one Grand Prize Winner. Here’s a look at all them. Please note, I have cropped enlarged and darkened the backgrounds of some of these to make them more visible.

2014 Pumpkin Carving Contest Winners

30. And Then Came the Comet

“Dremel and cylinder burrs with consultation from my 7-year-old amateur paleontologist.” – Chris T., Tacoma, WA

29. Multiple Personality

“I wanted to do something a little nice, and something a little not-so nice. So with this design, you get both. I used clay sculpting tools and knives.” -Nick Y., Ooltewah, TN

28. Eye’ve Got My Eye On You

“I wanted to create a piece that encompassed the trickery of Halloween. The eye is always watching, waiting for a victim. This piece took a total of six hours. Everything is pumpkin. I only used a Dremel and knife for the carving and shape formation. I slightly elevated the glaring painted iris from the hollows of the whites. I also used the Dremel to create the veineous look of the eye. I hollowed out spots in the gruesome teeth and added brown to simulate rottenness. Treats for trickery.” -Sarah, C.

27. Online Dating Is Difficult for Pumpkins…

“I used a set of wood-carving tools for the sculpting on the pumpkin’s face, the logo etched onto the back of the computer, and for the computer’s keyboard. The pumpkin’s arms and legs are poseable foam, a product from Villafane Studios. Rather than candles, I used a pair of flashlights to illuminate the computer pumpkin, so as to create more of a ‘digital’ glow, and to enhance the sense of alienation which the orange pumpkin is experiencing this autumn, as he tries unsuccessfully to connect with other jack-o’-lanterns on social media.” – Matt S., Nashville, TN

26. Orc Pumpkin

“This is a 40-pound orc pumpkin, carved with ceramics tools and cheap wood chisels. The teeth are sanded deer antlers.” – Joshua T., Albany, OR

25. Mark Twain

“My pumpkin is a caricature of Mark Twain, inspired by one of my favorite childhood movies ‘The Adventures of Mark Twain’ by Will Vinton. I carved my pumpkin using ribbon sculpting tools, an X-ACTO knife, copper scrubbers and a Scotch-Brite scouring pad to make the pumpkin smooth. To add volume to his hair, I borrowed from a donor pumpkin and attached the pieces with toothpicks and super glue.” – James B., Fort Myers, FL

24. USS Gravely

“This carving was for a friend of mine who was deployed on the USS Gravely. I use everything—Dremel, clay sculpt ribbon knives, Pumpkin Masters saws, X-ACTO Knives, kitchen knives, tools I’ve made—you name it. I carve several jack-o’-lanterns every year, so here goes!” – Jeff M., Rawlings, MD

23. Smile! Things Are Good

“Carved in the stem end. I used wood chisels and clay modeling tools.” – John B., Oxford, MI

22. Ima N. Shock

“I used wood carving tools, X-ACTO knives, and a paint brush to clean up the little nooks and crannies. Oh and a dog brush where I had flung pulp, which landed on my lab. I wanted to try and do the hanging eyeball and I just worked around that. I lost a few teeth but it ended up giving it character. I usually try to carve one or two and donate them. I ended up carving four this year. I’m giving this one to a local hotel for a Halloween party.” – Constance H., Farmington, NM

21. Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater

“I used an X-ACTO knife for the carving itself. Paint for the exterior. The teeth are wood slivers. The right eye dormer and frame are made of painted wood. The left eye frame is painted cardboard. I used vellum for a curtain on the right eye and Peter’s wife, barely seen in this photo, is a cardboard silhouette. The nose is a random bit of hardware I found in the garage. Painted leaves conceal the opening at the top.” – Rebecca W., Huntsville, TX

20. Thrall for Warchief!

“I do wood carvings using a Dremel with flex shaft attachment. So, I thought, why not a pumpkin? It’s a gaming themed pumpkin, Thrall for Warchief!” – Julie L., Bristol, TN

19. Carnivorous Plant

“I used six green striped cushaw squash for the base and two pumpkins for the head, teeth and tongue. There is ¾-inch pipe as the support structure, a plywood base to clamp it down and a bunch of skewers and tooth picks to hold everything together. The whole piece took a full day to carve and assemble. I used clay ribbon tools for the sculpture, knives for detail and Scotch-Brite pads for the final sanding. Throw in some chainsaw shavings to make the picture look complete! The whole piece stands 31 inches tall.” – Danny Kissel, Kissel Studios, Newville, PA

18. Once Upon a Time

“First I started carving a skull. Then I started to add gears to make it look more like the inside of a clock. On the top is supposed to be the numbers of a clock. I have the hands of the clock coming out of the eye sockets of the skull. I used your basic clay sculpture carving tools and a few different knives to carve everything. Overall, I think it turned out quite nicely.” – Gabriel J., Alton, IL

17. This Old Scary House

“I do renderings of houses and interiors for a living so I decided to do ‘This Old Scary House.’ I used small knives to carve openings and my husband’s carving tools (with his permission) to carve the details.” – Mimi N., Cass City, MI

16. Goof

“For this pumpkin I used clay ribbon tools, wood carving tools, and a X-ACTO knife.” – Michael Brown, MB Creative Studio, Springfield, MO

15. Fishbowl Prowler

“I love cats as to find a way to show the cute side still even at Halloween.” – Marie L., Bristol, CT

14. Beauty and the Butterfly

“Pumpkin carving of a girl with a butterfly. I used various size knives and drills for this project. Also used a few toothpicks to hold it in place.” – Jina L., Mississauga, ON

13. Fairy House

“For this pumpkin I used a multitool, clay loops, various knives and greens from the garden.” – Katie S., Flourtown, PA

12. Stretch

“Used clay tools to carve this pumpkin.” – Jason D., Greenwood, IN

11. Fear No Evil

“I used pumpkin carving tools, a Dremel, two kitchen knives, and two floor cutting knives to create the three faces on this pumpkin, which were carved both in the bright light and also in almost darkness (so I could see how they glowed). My favorite carving tool is the Dremel but the pumpkin carving tools are a close second. Under the words ‘See no evil’ is a ghoul void of eyes. Under the words ‘Hear no evil’ is a vampire with his hands over his ears. Under the words ‘Speak no evil’ is a mummy muffled by wraps. I titled this pumpkin ‘Fear no evil!’ When you spin the pumpkin you can see the three faces, but depending on your vantage point, you only see one face of evil.” – Sharon R., Cincinnati, OH

10. Witch

“I made this witch pumpkin using clay ribbon tools, wood carving tools, and a X-ACTO knife.” – Michael Brown, MB Creative Studio, Springfield, MO

9. Dragons

“This is a pumpkin that I carved because I have always loved dragons. It began with a few hours of drawing. Then I used clay-sculpting tools to make it. It was the biggest pumpkin I ever carved. After ten hours of carving and an enormous mess, this was the result. Hope you enjoy it!” – James H., Clearwater, FL

8. The Reaper

“This is the Grim Reaper pumpkin. I carved it with sharpened clay sculpting tools and other homemade tools.” – Wade L., Vancouver, WA

7. Oak Tree

“I used a Cricut Explore to draw my design on clear stretch material. I used the Pumpkin Masters Power Poker to transfer my design to the pumpkin. I used a Williams-Sonoma pumpkin carving kit, specifically the looped scraping tool to scrape out the design.” – Joseph S., Kennett Square, PA

6. Kung Fu Dragon

“I created this kung fu-themed pumpkin for my daughters’ martial arts studio. I used pumpkin knives, wood carving tools, and clay sculpting tools.” – Michelle M., Eugene, OR

5. Life Hurts

“I made this with an X-ACTO knife, a ¼-inch, and ½-inch chisel, and a little patience! Love how it turned out.” – Lavell R., Rexburg, ID

4. Haunted House Fire

“I made this for our Halloween party, which is also celebrating the purchase of my first house that I bought by myself. I carved this pumpkin after seeing some pumpkin stencils my roommate had, though I decided they were all too small for the size of the pumpkin. So I searched online for some ideas and created and drew my own picture on my pumpkin. It took mostly one really late night of carving for five hours until 1:00 a.m.. We used mostly some pumpkin tools that have miniature saws that my roommate’s mom gave us to use. It turned out even better than I expected—when we put the light in it appears everything looks like it is on fire! So good!” – Angeline D., Winnipeg, MB

3. Mask

“For this pumpkin I used clay ribbon tools, wood carving tools, and a X-ACTO knife.” – Michael Brown, MB Creative Studio, Springfield, MO

2. Leaf Pumpkin Wheel

“I carved a gradated leaf pattern into a Long Island Cheese variety of pumpkin. This variety is flat and lightly ribbed, similar in skin color and shape to a wheel of cheese. I used a knife and a ‘V’ wood gouge.” – Pam Pfropper, A’peeling Fruit, Sterling Heights, MI

1.Grand Prize Winner! The Ringleader

“I used clay tools, a sheetrock knife, a cheese crater, and a Dremel.” – Noel B., Oneida, NY

at top: “I usually carve a pumpkin sign for my display each year, I decided to carve This Old Haunted House this year. I carved this pumpkin using Warren Pro Pumpkin Carving tools from Zombie Pumpkins and an X-ACTO knife set.” – Blake A., West Jordan, UT

See all 450 entries here

all images and information courtesy of This Old House

Happy Halloween!

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