Every year for Halloween, Joy and I get together with some friends to carve jack-o-lanterns. We usually eat┬átake-out,┬áchat for a bit, then jump right into the carving. If we finish early enough, we’ll play some board games.

In years past, I’ve always just picked up one of the $4.99 stencil kits you see in the grocery store. You know the ones… they have the tiny jig-saw blades with the handles on them and a guts scraper/scoop. Over the last couple of years, I’ve started going “off the rails” as they say and coming up with my own, often more complex patterns. One year I even did what I call a “partial carve” pumpkin where you carve into the pumpkin but not all the way, so that the candle inside causes the flesh to illuminate.

I didn't have a candle, so my Grump-o-lantern is actually being illuminated by the LED flash on my Moto X.
I didn’t have a candle, so my Grump-o-lantern is actually being illuminated by the LED flash on my Moto X.

This year I decided to carve internet superstar “Grumpy Cat” on our pumpkin. I would have loved to do a partial carve and just cut the eyes all the way through, but our pumpkin was WAY too thick! I can’t take all the credit for how well it turned out since I pretty much copied someone else’s pattern.Our friends’ pumpkin was also pretty amazing. He did “Doc Hudson” from the Cars movies. I would probably guess his design was a little harder to cut. He probably also had a time getting the pattern transferred.

After we finished and cleaned up our pumpkins, we played a round of King of Tokyo with the new Halloween expansion pack I got for my birthday. It’s a pretty cool mod that adds 2 new characters: Pumpkin Jack and Boogie Woogie. There’s also 6 orange dice to replace the green ones and new costume cards. We even managed to get a game of 7 Wonders in before Joy and I turned into pumpkins around 11:30.

Now, if Grumpy-o-lantern can just last until the Friday without molding or shriveling up too much, he will gladly proudly adorn our front porch welcoming trick-or-treaters with a healthy dose of disdain and contempt for their candy collection.

Here’s some step-by-step photos of the carving process.

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