Pumpkins

The Great Pumpkins

Like many people, I bought a set a set of pumpkin carving tools and patterns in 1990.  It was fun, but the patterns were just a little too cutesy for my taste.  The following year, I began making my own patterns…which grew more and more elaborate as the years went on.  Pumpkin carving is a transient art form—each carving pictured below reflects about 3 hours’ work, and only lasts about three days—so each year I seek to reflect in my pumpkins the transience of pop culture by choosing subjects which are topical and appropriate for Halloween that year.

When I lived in Royal Oak, MI, neighbors eagerly shuffled by on Halloween to see the latest creations; but I’ve since moved to more spread out locales, where very few can enjoy this pumpkin art.  So I started this page to share the various designs–some successful, others less so–of Halloweens past.  Alas, pumpkins are hard to photograph in the dark and these photos do not do any of them justice; in person, these carvings have a startling 3D look.

Several pumpkins from 1991-2002 are by L. Page Brunner, with whom I shared many carving sessions.  I attempt to identify the ones that I recall her having carved, but it’s hard to remember them all.  Regardless, these photos are © and may not be reproduced without permission.

Click on any image so see a larger image.

2014

Hail Hydra!
Hail Hydra!
(from S.H.I.E.L.D. and
The Winter Soldier)
Edgar Allan Poe
(Baltimore legend)
Maleficent
(portrayed by Angelina Jolie)
Spooky Tree
(by Kerry Kurowski)
Celestial Objects
(by Kerry Kurowski)
Traditional Pumpkin
(by Kerry Kurowski)

2013

Wolverine pumpkin
Wolverine
(from The Wolverine)
Sandra Bullock from "Gravity"
Sandra Bullock
(from Gravity)
Death Star
Carved by our local squirrel

2012

This year was pretty much a bust thanks to Superstorm Sandy.

2011

Aleister Crowley
at age 23
Peter Vincent
(David Tennant from Fright Night)
John Lennon
Just because (the world is round)

2010

Aleister Crowley ca. 1902
(see Perdurabo p. 107)

Harry Potter
(Daniel Radcliffe from The Deathly Hallows)
Traditional Scary Pumpkin
(by Kerry Kurowski)
Bellatrix Lestrange
(as portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter
in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

2009

The Comedian
(Jeffrey Dean Morgan from The Watchmen)
Rorschach
(Jackie Earle Haley from The Watchmen)
Traditional Pumpkin
(by Kerry Kurowski)
Where the Wild Things Are
(from the book by Maurice Sendak, which was made into a movie in 2009)

2008

The Joker
(In memoriam Heath Ledger from The Dark Knight)
The Brain
(By Kerry Kurowski)
Indiana Jones
(in memoriam of better films than The Crystal Skull)

2007

Sirius Black
(Gary Oldman from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)
Elizabeth Swann
(Keira Knightley from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End)
Cannibal Pumpkin
(by Kerry Kurowski)
King Leonidas
(Gerard Butler from 3oo)

2005

Victor Van Dort
(Voiced by Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride)
Aleister Crowley
(The annual Crowley pumpkin tradition continues,
with “The Flame” from the original Rites of Eleusius promo booklet)
Emily, the Corpse Bride
(Voiced by Helena Bonham Carter in Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride)

2002

Aragorn
(Viggo Mortensen from Lord of the Rings)
Arwen
(Liv Tyler from Lord of the Rings., by Page Brunner)
O.T.O. Lamen
(one of the hardest carvings I’ve ever done)
Aleister Crowley
from the cover of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley)

2001

Planet of the Apes
(from Tim Burton’s remake)
Solid Snake
(from the videogame Metal Gear Solid, by Page Brunner.)
Spike
(James Marsters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by Page Brunner)
T’Pol
(Angela Blalock from Enterprise)

1999

Queen Amidala
(Natalie Portman from The Phantom Menace)
Darth Maul
(Also from Phantom Menace…easily the hardest pumpkin yet)
Neo
(Keanu Reeves from The Matrix)
Michael
(Roy Dupuis from La Femme Nikita, by Page Brunner)
Blair Witch Project
(bad photo of a bad pumpkin…you can’t win ‘em all!)
Aleister Crowley
(or if you prefer, Yul Brenner inThe 10 Commandments …which many trick-or-treaters that year thought)

1997

The film of this year’s pumpkins was lost in developing. Subjects included “Agent K” (Tommy Lee Jones from Men in Black), “Ripley” (Sigourney Weaver from Alien: Resurrection), “7 of 9″ (Jeri Ryan from Star Trek: Voyager…whom nobody recognized from the neck up), the mask from Scream, and yet another Aleister Crowley.

1996

Bill Clinton
President (and then 1996 presidential candidate)
Agent Fox Mulder
(David Duchovny of The X-Files)
Agent Dana Scully
(Gillian Anderson of The X-Files, by Page Brunner)
Diahann
(my sister passed on Sept 11; 911, my tribute to her is on House of Usher‘s debut CD)
Antonio Banderas
(from Desperado, by Page Brunner)
And, of course, Aleister Crowley

1994

The Vampire Lestat
(played by Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire, by Page Brunner)
Louis
(from the Interview with the Vampire comics, by Page Brunner)
3rd Annual Aleister Crowley pumpkin
Madame Blavatsky
(founder of Theosophy)

1993

The late great Vincent Price (who died in October, 1993)
Lt. Commander Data
(from Star Trek: The Next Generation, by Page Brunner)
2nd Annual Aleister Crowley pumpkin
Jurassic Pumpkin
A blood-sucker
(from the Vampire: The Masquerade handbook, by Page Brunner)

1992

Catwoman
(Michelle Pfiefer from Batman Returns, by Page Brunner)
Chamber of Terrors
(from a 1930s movie poster)
Aleister Crowley
(British occultist born on October 12, 1875)
Mephisto
(villain from the Fantastic Four comics)
Lon Chaney
(from Phantom of the Opera)

1991

Dream
(from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comic books, by Page Brunner)
Evil Spock
(from the classic episode Mirror, Mirror, by Page Brunner)
Frankenstein
(Boris Karloff, from the original movie)
Witch
(taken from a gift bag)
All photos are © and may not be reproduced without permission.