Carving pumpkins better than Smashing Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins better than Smashing Pumpkins
Tom Rife

Even though it might be a smidge premature, it’s time to start planning that perfect pumpkin-carving project for 2021.


Halloween costumes, decorations and candies are in the stores. The corn maze at Ramseyer Farms is “cornfusing” the kids.

Even the owners of a local document-shredding business have planted a “seasonal” banner on their property:

“Pumpkin spice shredding is back,” the whimsical sign on Akron Road reads.

So even though it might be a smidge premature, it’s time to start planning that perfect pumpkin-carving project for 2021. No doubt there will be some creative, super-duper designs out there that surely will take the art of the jack-o’-lantern to new, imaginative heights.

In recent times I’ve tried to step up my game a bit, attempting some of the trendy techniques used to create some scary, mind-boggling versions. Not the least bit artsy, though, my approach has been the KISS system usually associated with public speaking.

“Keep it simple, stupid!” That’s my mantra, and I must say the results have been encouraging. My carvings have hardly been up to snuff compared to those you might see during the “Great Pumpkin Glow” at Kirkwood Center Gardens in Mansfield next month. But for an impatient, aging sports goober, this old dawg has learned some new tricks for trick-or-treat season.

In scouting out 2021 pumpkin-carving ideas, I’m actually considering something kinda retro. You know, a throwback that would serve as one final tribute to a Cleveland icon. Is there anyone else out there who might like to see Chief Wahoo’s face on a punkin?

If you tell me, “No can do, it’s politically unacceptable,” I’ll just carve a Kansas City Chief or an Atlanta Brave instead. The PC police seem to turn a blind eye to those mascots, don’t they?

I could carve a Pittsburgh Steelers logo. But would it survive even one night in these parts? I hear there’s a group called “The Smashing Pumpkins.” Are they Roethlisberger fans?

Really, folks. If you’re gonna go to the trouble of getting a pumpkin or two, then attacking the innocent pumpkins with sharp objects to gut the goopy, stringy insides, then go all-out.

Think big, like the good folks down in Pickaway County always do. This year’s Circleville Pumpkin Show runs Oct. 20-23, and admission is free. Maybe you can get some carving suggestions there or, at the very least, partake of some pumpkin spice doughnuts or pumpkin spice pie or pumpkin spice ice cream. They might even have pumpkin spice burgers.

When planning your frightening Halloween show-stopper, remember spiders, black cats and spooky-toothy smiles may be traditional. But why be ordinary when you can go outside the lines? If you insist on carving witches, at least make ’em look like Patriots cheerleaders.

Of course, slogans can be popular when carved on a pumpkin too. I did a straightforward “Vote” design before the 2020 election. A basic “Woo!” face was a clever alternative to the usual “Boo!”

In the great state of Ohio, a large block “O” is a common sight. So go with that. Or a “Go Bucks!” design that will be a hit with the neighbors on Saturday afternoons.

This year I might try something like “Click it or ticket.” Or perhaps “Vax it or casket.”

Just KISS, remember?

Pumpkins are orange. Pumpkins are round. A pumpkin named Baker would be profound.

Got it? A Browns helmet would be simple to sculpt. Just leave space for a bearded face, some stripes down the center and an ear hole on each side.

Two ear holes on each side would be pretty creepy too.

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