Pumpkin Carving for Geeks
Pumpkin Carving for Geeks

Pumpkin Carving for Geeks

Halloween 035

I am a pumpkin carving geek.  I can’t get enough of it!  As soon as October rolls around, there’s nothing I want to do more than buy a dozen of the largest pumpkins Fred Meyer carries and sit at home with my pairing knife whittling away at orange flesh.  [Tip: Fred Meyer’s scales max out somewhere around 30 lbs., so find the heaviest pumpkins you can and you’ll get a great deal!]

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a few pumpkin carving techniques (ahem… using lasers), but I am certainly not alone when it comes to geeking out over gords.  Check out this collection of nerd-o-lanterns!

You’ve gotta love a Star Trek pumpkin!  This one was carved by Alex Wer, who runs ThePumpkinGeek.com.  He’s got several dozen other Star Trek carvings, including a whole page dedicated to the series lady characters.  These are the most photorealistic carvings I’ve seen, though his site doesn’t indicate that he uses any special machinery for his carving process.

How could I mention Star Trek without also paying homage to Star Wars?  This is a pretty mean Vader (via Walyou), especially given that it appears to be carved, not etched. 
Although I won’t award many points for skill, this Pac-o-Lantern gets props for creativity and retro flair.  Now, if it were motorized and playable in a giant field of hay bales, I’d be there with a roll of quarters.
This pumpkin is included not because of the subject matter, but because of the method.  It was carved using a CNC machine (a computer controlled rotary cutting tool).  See the full details of the process at Lumenlab

And of course, so as not to be outdone, here are a few pumpkins I carved in years past.

pumpkins 095 This is a 7” sugar pie pumpkin with the first verse of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven etched into it with a laser.  Perhaps it would have been scarier to engrave the Patriot Act.
bats and angels This is one of my favorites.  It’s M.C. Escher’s Angels and Devils.  This was also carved with a laser, as it would have been nearly impossible to capture the detail near the edges where the pattern repeats. 
bill gates pumpkin

Finally, my Sistine Chapel, the Bill Gates.  This one was hand carved and took about two hours to complete. 

For all the engineering geeks out there, I’ve published a primer on carving pumpkins with a laser

I’m at a bit of a loss for what to carve this year.  If you’ve got suggestions, leave ‘em in the comments.  If the idea is good enough (and you live in the Seattle area) I might just carve it for you!


  1. Lisa

    Hi – these are amaizing! Any chance you can be hired to carve some pumpkins for an event next Halloween 2011? We are looking for some really cool, well done carvings!

    Love the work!

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  16. I wonder what Emmeline Pankhurst would have thought of today’s culture? One cannot re-read Kafka enough these days – the lessons for our generation especially have never been more salient. Volunteering and community have been killed by Cameron’s ‘Big Society’.

  17. A touch of nutmeg really bolsters the egg flavours in an otherwise traditional Yorkshire pudding, which can really focus the mind on other issues. I’m so glad we ended our 4 week holiday through Central Asia with an afternoon of volunteering at a Mongolian orphanage – it really made us feel we were giving something back at this time of global crisis. Oh well, as long as the frankenfood corporations can keep making a profit hey?

  18. I visited a Rauschenberg exhibition the other day after a saunter through Borough market and it struck me. If my cleaner can speak such wonderful English, why can’t all children in the UK learn at least two foreign languages? That’s what we learned from Toussaint L’Ouverture.

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