Never use a flimsy pumpkin carving tool when you can use a chainsaw.
That was Tyson Sones’ strategy as he buzzed through the flesh of a pumpkin, hollowing out the eyes and turning it into Jack, the skeleton-like figure from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
“I have experience cutting trees down, but this is completely different,” he said as bits of pumpkin flew at him. The property technician for the School of Art was one of about 15 who participated in Illinois State’s Pumpkinalooza carving competition October 13. A persistent drizzle moved the event from the Quad indoors.
Claire Lieberman, associate art professor, created the event that’s designed to mix art students and faculty with prospective students. It was planned for an Admissions Open House day, and a Naperville high schooler touring campus with her mother stopped to carve their pumpkins.
“I’m considering ISU,” said Elaina Hahn, as she sketched out a spider at an art table covered with plastic. Her mother, Beth Hahn, carved “Redbirds” into her pumpkin.
“It’s subtle,” she said, looking over at her daughter.
As freshman Joey Dones pulled fistfuls of stringy slime out, he said, “I haven’t done this in a year. I forgot how bad this smells.” He went on to carve Reggie Redbird.
First place went to senior art student Anthony La Giglia, who’s known for the Batman snow sculpture he carved on the Quad in 2013. So how does carving a pumpkin compare to chiseling through snow?
“It’s a lot messier, but I can feel my fingers, which is great,” he said.
La Giglia took the top prize of $25 for carving a face that was chiseled on one side, exposing what looked like muscle and bone.
Garrett Douglas, acting major, and Brandon Miller, theatre major, teamed up to create a “pumpkin that wasn’t feeling well.” The two took second place for the runny nose pumpkin. Third place went to freshman Diana Pacheco for her wide saw-toothed grin.
Kate Arthur can be reached at kaarthu@IllinoisState.edu.