Gourdheads Sculpting Kit!

I don’t think I’ve ever plowed through as many pumpkins in one year as I have in 2011. And yet, no trophy.

There was the PAAS Pumpkin Disguises kit, the ill-fated Cap’n Crunch o’ Lantern, and more recently, those Pumpkin Hatchers. That’s not even counting another two pumpkins that I haven’t written about.

What’s one more?

I found this Gourdheads Sculpting Kit just this morning, at a local “pumpkin place” that had an associated shack full of old, dusty nonsense. I thought the $13 price tag was steep, and apparently, so did the lady working the register. With no encouragement, she dropped it to $5. Christmas isn’t the only holiday with miracles.

The kit is from 2006, and best as I can tell, whoever made it is out of business. There’s a company website listed, but unless they really did mean for it to consist of nothing but a smiling girl and links to apartment listings, they’ve gone belly up. These are the risks you take when you put all yer eggs in the “throw clay on a pumpkin” basket.

In a nutshell: With this kit, you will spare a gourd’s life. Instead of slicing and scooping, you’re just going to put a clay face directly on a pumpkin. Aside from the unique effects, this may also keep your pumpkin shapely and gnat-free for months.

The real question is, how many times can I use the word “pumpkin” before one of us implodes?

The tools: A plastic face mold, orange clay, some finessing tools, and the world’s longest instruction manual.

Ever read Bret Hart’s autobiography? Remember the seventeen chapters he spent detailing the patterns of Ma Hart’s favorite Christmas dress? This instruction manual is longer.

The early steps involve rolling the clay into big balls, and then flattening ’em out into a large circle with a cutting board and rolling pin. I didn’t feel like clay-ing up our cutting boards, and the last time I remember owning a rolling pin was two presidents ago. Instead, I used a Star Wars book and some kind of cylindrical plastic thing. I have no idea where it came from.

Hey, quick note about old clay: It’s really, really hard. I’m no strongman, but I figured I’d be manly enough to roll clay into balls without issue. I was extremely wrong. It became a fifteen minute process, and I stopped long before the clay was thoroughly kneaded, fearing that the impending sunset would put a serious cramp in my photo quality.

So, I guess, if you’re going to track down a 2006 Gourdheads Sculpting Kit, you might want to consider a hand gripper, too.

After that, you’ve gotta get your newly malleable clay into the mold. This is somewhere between easy and not easy. The upside? Orange clay in a face-shaped plastic mold looks like the start-point for a very delicious pie.

I expected a volley of sensations to surface in direct response to the Gourdheads kit, sure, but hunger was not one of them.

After gently removing the clay, it was time to toss it on a pumpkin. A $5 pumpkin, from our nearest supermarket.

I thought I found a great one, but I forgot to run it through the usual tests. Only after getting home did I realize that my pumpkin could not stand up. Yeeeouch. It’s one of those extra-vertical pumpkins, too, so it doesn’t even give me those three seconds of “maybe success” before tipping over.

My kingdom for three seconds of “maybe success.”

Anyhow, I saw a face, and it was a pretty good face, but it was obvious that my Gourdhead was going to need something more. The instruction manual dedicated no less than 70 pages to suggested add-ons, but making clay ears and arms seemed like too much work.

Then I looked down at that Star Wars book, and remembered one of the first things I bought for this year’s Countdown:

It’s a couple of push-in pumpkin decorations, based on Yoda. Finally, I had a use for them!

Every Halloween Countdown, I end up buying more than I ever have a chance to cover. This is partly because time just runs out, but also because I rarely consider how interesting something is before committing to the purchase.

Push-in Yoda body parts may sound interesting, but trust me, they’re not. I thought this was going to be one of 2011’s unsung zeroes. Not anymore!

And there she is! My very special Gourdhead, rocking Yoda’s arms and lightsaber.

Full disclosure: The shape of the face as provided by the mold is only supposed to kick off your pumpkin’s look. You’re directed to spend extra time building up the features, to make it appear more uniquely yours. I got as far as horns and eyebrows before deciding that I wanted Tostitos more than an extra nice Gourdhead.

If you’re wondering why my Gourdhead is in a bowl, you obviously don’t read things from start to finish. I already told you, this pumpkin can’t stand up on its own. It’s defective. It understands the politics of King Moonraiser.

You know, as ugly as the thing is, I can see the potential. Even with my no-effort attempt, the clay face really does blend into the pumpkin, creating a seamless monster who is part fruit and part aluminum silicate. And part Yoda.

My favorite bit is the snake rolled around her stem:

Sharks have remoras. Pumpkins with Yoda arms have snakes made out of clay. At least, this is what I was trying to convey. All great art has a message.

…but only the greatest art leaves you with a disembodied Yoda head to save for another day.

Oh, Yoda. I don’t know what’s in store for you, but it is going to be so inappropriate.

Number of times the word “pumpkin” was used in this entry: 18. And yet, no trophy.

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99 Responses to Gourdheads Sculpting Kit!

  1. Unca Joey says:

    Scott, I too worked for Ballbuster Video during the Yoda giveaway. We had to give him away to some redneck who photocopied entry forms and had over $100 racked up in late fees– I was pissed! At least I still have that photo of me humping the Jedi Master before he was taken away from me…

  2. Muppet Baby says:

    YAY, AMY!!! :)

    Killer Klowns from Outer Space! Now THERE is an example of a VHS I rented simply because of the cover art.

    I have not carved a pumpkin this year, nor will I. I have gone all out in the past, but this year I am saying EFF IT. We only get about 3 – 5 Trick or Treaters these days anyways.

    I AM gonna do the costume thing, though. I teach at a high school, and I am gonna try to be Shaun from ‘Shaun of the Dead’ and see how many of my students are cool enough to figure it out.

  3. Annette says:

    I’m not carving any pumpkins this year. I’m still burned out on pumpkin carving from last year. But I did decorate my kitchen window with Halloween garland, gel clings, and orange lights.

  4. Muppet Baby says:

    ….and I’m a chick with really long hair, so it’s gonna be trickier than just wearing a white shirt and tie.

  5. I think I’d make a good “Ed” from Shaun of the Dead. Gotta work on my monkey impression. I’ve been meaning to do that anyway, so it would kill two birds with one stone, sort of.

  6. DJ D says:

    Astro Zombie: I was totally just about to respond to you regarding Laibach’s shift in tone over the years, but Jugendsehnsucht beat me to it and covered everything I was going to say, and then some, with more detail…so yeah, ditto to all of that. These days, I like their remixes of others’ work, but as for their original stuff, not so much.

    I’d also like to wish Amy congratulations on her healthy baby boy. With a couple more on the way in our group, it looks like X-E 2.0 is well on its way. I’m so happy for all my friends.

    So, next week we’re having some Halloween decoration contest at work, and because of my dark sensibilities and solid punkin carving skills, I’ve officially been recruited to help decorate my area. I hope to spend all day Friday slicing up punkins, spreading fake webs everywhere, and generally doing anything that doesn’t involve me sitting at my desk. We’re also having a pot luck dinner tomorrow. I’ve learned the trick to being happy around there. It’s volunteering. If you volunteer for anything, you can get out of doing anything that remotely resembles actual work. And isn’t that what life is all about?

    I’ve picked up on all of your cues to fully milk every bit of Halloween mood I can out of the coming week. I’m staying up tonight and I was going to spend it catching up all the TV I’ve missed in the past week, but nope, I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that every night this week, I’m going to watch at least one horror movie. So tonight, as soon as I hit “Post” on this thing, I’m lighting some fall candles, curling up in bed, munching on some Hershey’s miniatures, and watching Trick ‘r Treat. If I’m lucky, it will result in some very interesting dreams.

  7. velouria_78 says:

    I stayed up to watch Near Dark again. Now that it’s over, nothing else on tv stars a bloody Bill Paxton, so I’m bored.

  8. nomad says:

    A white shirt, tie, glass of beer and a shovel might be enough for Shaun?

  9. stina says:

    Maybe some LPS to throw.

    Congrats to Amy! I hope she dresses up the baby on Monday…

  10. Hoverbored says:

    Congratulations to all the expectant/new mothers here on X-E! Me? I’m glad that the Monopoly promotion at McDonald’s is ending, since it means no more digging through the trash cans looking for unclaimed tickets.

  11. tanta07 says:

    Did anyone else follow Matt’s link to the Gourdheads (former) web site? It’s a pretty hilarious peek into shady internet scammers with a limited grasp of English. Among the links on their site:

    “Holidays Inn”
    “The Chicago”
    “The KISS”
    “Video Music Free”

    I didn’t dare click on any of the links; just looking at them was entertainment enough.

  12. Ggadwa says:

    Congrats Amy, have fun until he becomes a teenager :)

  13. Ggadwa says:

    Matt, here’s your trophy, don’t say you’ve never won anything for the site :)

    http://www.klinksoftware.com/misc/trophy.png

  14. Matt says:

    @Hoverbored: Yikes, I hope those aren’t unsafe links. I wouldn’t have posted it if so.

    @Gdadwa: Hah, awesome. I feel vindicated!

    Posting later today. I knew I should’ve made Gourdheads the official Monday post rather than a bonus Sunday post.

  15. tanta07 says:

    Martha Stewart’s daughter is releasing a memoir, and one of the revelations is that Martha Stewart refused to give out candy on Halloween, she would turn out her lights and pretended not to be home.

    On a Halloween-centeric site such as this, surely we can all agree that pretending not to be home on Halloween is a first-class dick move, right?

  16. Matt says:

    Was going to say “yes,” but there have been times when I’ve done it too.

  17. tanta07 says:

    Matt- say it ain’t so! How could a guy so devoted to all things Halloween refuse kids their Samhain-given right to candy on the sacred night?

    The only acceptable excuse if you just didn’t have any candy. No kid wants you to scrounge for an apple or nickels or something.

  18. tanta07 says:

    And I think she gets extra dick points because she’s Martha-frickin’-Stewart. You know she could have easily thrown together some homemade ghost-pops or something.

  19. Cameron T. says:

    Sometimes I’d rather turn out the lights and watch a spooky movie on Halloween rather than Trick or Treat…

  20. Bill says:

    I just realized Madd Matt might not have another show for a year and I became so sad. Perhaps he can host a cooking show around Thanksgiving highlighting the magic of stuffed mushrooms. Perhaps.

    I am a big fan of Martha Stewart getting ripped on. I especially love the South Park episode when she eats an entire turkey with her ass.

  21. Astro Zombie says:

    I’ve been pretty broke and ocucpied with school this season, so I’ve barely done anything Halloween-ish. I haven’t carved a pumpkin, decorated, and haven’t picked a costume because I don’t have anywhere to go. It looks my Halloween is going to be spent at my house, watching horror movies. This site is filling in the gaps for me though.

    Tanta07: I totally agree with you. Domain squatters strike me as being pretty shady and the links on their pages are probably connected to spammers and scam artists. I don’t want to financially reward them.

    And yeah, I think Martha Stewart gets a lot of dick points for that. (Oops… we better not talk about her anymore, because you know she can make people disappear.) But I’m not in a position to rip on her, ’cause I don’t give out candy on Halloween either.

    Reverend: I don’t know why people do that. Then agin, I don’t know or understand why most people do the shit they do. I fight the Sunday dread, though I’m not always successful—but at least I am trying to do something about it.

    Jugendsehnsucht: Yeah, I should have mentioned that I was following the conversation at Dark Entries’ Facebook page. My mind is being divided by about ten things right now, including an earth science test with twenty fucking essay questions, so I guess something has got to give somewhere. [There’s an emoticon for this, but I don’t know which one.]

    I have a compilation, one that consists mostly of Slovenian punk bands, that features one of Laibach’s earliest tracks. I didn’t know they did a cover of “The Final Countdown.” Thanks for mentioning that. Now I’m going to have that song’s damn synth line in my head for the next week!

  22. Bill says:

    I just bought a Holiday pack of Jones Soda from 2005 on eBay for $45.
    The “dumbest impulse buy” award goes to…

  23. tanta07 says:

    Cameron T – I’m way on the other end of the spectrum – I actually go way out of my way to make sure all the kiddies get their fun-sized Snickers. My wife takes our daughter out trick-or-treating so I can stay home and give out candy. Of course I’m watching suitably spooky stuff on the tube (usually the live Ghost Hunters thing), but it’s interrupted every couple of minutes to give out da loot.

  24. That clear plastic thing rolling pin is a freezable center for an Ikea pitcher.

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