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  • Really Cool Halloween Decoration: Relief-Carved Pumpkins

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    For a really cool Halloween decoration that is a feast for the eyes that doesn't go unnoticed by the public at large, put a relief-carved pumpkin on your list of Halloween decoration ideas.

    Unlike a traditional jack-o'-lantern made by cutting blocks of meat out of the pumpkin, "relief carving relies on perspective and shadows to develop the image and provides more opportunity for creative options," as explained by Vic Hood in the introduction of Extreme Pumpkin Carving: 20 Amazing Designs from Frightfull to Fabulous. Result is, pumpkins are sculpted to create "realistic portraitures" that make a really cool Halloween decoration.

    In the book, Hood, and photographer Jack A. Williams, provide two step-by-step photo galleries of start-to-finish projects where a real pumpkin is transformed into a sculpted work of art that will make plastic Halloween pumpkins on store shelves wholly inadequate.

    The first step-by-step photo gallery provides 87 pictures that chronicle Hood's work in creating a garish portraiture of an old pointy-eared ghoul with lots of deep wrinkles, extremely baggy eyes, and a big silly grin, displaying three teeth. This first project demonstrates how to make a Halloween decoration by relief-carving a pumpkin using readily available knives, in this case a paring knife and a kitchen knife.

    The second step-by-step photo gallery offers 39 pictures, with Hood demonstrating how to make a Halloween decoration by using woodcarving tools to relief-carve a pumpkin. In this project, Hood created a menacing face with creepy painted eyebrows and big cheshire-cat grin with sharp separation of the teeth and lips.

    In fact, if there is one element of this Halloween decoration prop's personality that rises to prominence, one aspect that screams louder than all other aspects, it is that big smiling mouth. While a pumpkin is a natural fall Halloween decoration, this prop includes carved outlines of fall leaves, surrounding the face and accentuating the fall Halloween decoration motif.

    In addition to patterns for creating really cool Halloween decorations through relief-carved pumpkins, the book offers portraiture designs for Old Man Winter, Santa, Snow White's Doc, and other visually-arresting goofy faces. While the subtitle mentions 20 designs there are actually 24 designs, all in black-and-white patterns for easy photocopying to aid transferring onto a pumpkin plus a full-color picture of a finished sample

    For the average person, relief-carving a pumpkin is not an easy Halloween decoration to craft, but for those up to the challenge, a little practice and patience can result in a do-it-yourself Halloween decoration that makes a most pronounced visual statement.

    Extreme Pumpkin Carving: 20 Amazing Designs From Frightful to Fabulous by Vic Hood and Jack A. Williams (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2004)
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