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