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The tie

The following story is destined to be repeated at every Halloween family gathering for years to come…

A few years ago, my husband and I had a revelation. It is not fun to carve a half-dozen pumpkins in one sitting.

The kids do a great job gutting the gourdy beasts, but it’s left to the adults in the family to wield the knives per each kid’s specifications. It was demanding. We felt the last few pumpkins weren’t being carved with as much care as the first, which wasn’t fair.

Our solution to Jack-o-lantern overload was to set reasonable limits which still inspired creativity.

This year, we bought two nicely sized pumpkins with the idea we’d hold a contest. Each kid designed a pumpkin on paper. Even Archie. Aidan drew a pumpkin outline for him and he scribbled in a face. The kids submitted the designs. My husband set up a polling place on the kitchen table. The designs were laid out, labelled with names. Everyone was to vote for his or her favorite, except for Archie. I was going to vote on his behalf.

There were seven submissions and seven votes. The #1 rule was you couldn’t vote for yourself. The top two designs would be carved.

One by one, we went into the kitchen to cast our ballots by writing on little scraps of paper and placing the folded bits into a bucket. Faintly, in the background, I heard tribal council theme music.

My husband emerged from the kitchen with the bucket. The kids lined up on the couch, squealing with anticipation. With the flair of Guy Smiley and the hair of Howie Mandel, my husband channeled the greatest hosts in game show history as he presented the results.

The first vote was for Aidan! Applause!

The second vote was for Sam!

Then Tommy!





We had a seven way tie.

I still can’t quite believe that’s the way the first vote shook out, but it did. Nobody voted for him or herself and somehow everyone still got a vote.

The executive producers of Project Draw That Pumpkin (me and hubby) decided to put the names back into the bucket and have Archie pluck two names.

The first name was Tommy, who drew the most complicated and surreal design. I’m sharing his first submission.

The actual pumpkin carved was scaled back greatly, but with his approval.

The second name was Archie. I’d love to share the original design, but the artist spilled the dog’s water on it, rendering it impossible to scan.

Tune in next year to find out whose pumpkin design makes the cut.

12 comments to The tie

  • I LOVE IT.

    Especially after carving five pumpkins in a row this weekend. My hands are still chaffed.

    But seriously, I totally dig Archie’s design!


  • We’ve been going to my Inlaws to carve pumpkins for 10 years. It’s tradition. BUT I agree with you – carving all those pumpkins is HARD! Next year we’re going to plant more pumpkins and sculpt with them instead of having to wear out our hands carving.

  • That is such a great idea! With a third on the way I am storing this in the back of my mind for future use!

  • bro-de-mopsy

    Absolutely hilarious! I wish I could have been there for that. Gotta hand it to Tommy for thinking outside the box on his pumpkin design.

  • Oh Man!!! Your kids are the so cute!!! Gotta love “old” Archies design… My kids choose which sibling they are gifting for Christmas like this…Can you imagine 8 times 8 little home made pieces of bark and stone with acres of sticky tape and gift wrap… No! One nice gift for one sibling with only yards of sticky tape and gift wrap … sigh, much better!!!

  • Brilliant! We paint pumpkins around here.

  • I’m impressed no one cried “Voter fraud!” and demanded a recount. 😉

    So far, we still carve pumpkins equal to our number of children. (Although children who drool don’t get a pumpkin. We are so cruel.) But my husband’s fingers did freeze up a number of times Saturday night while carving the skull face for Connor.

  • Shayne

    I absolutely LOVE this!

    You really do have a a wonderful, loving and caring group of kids. As an only child, I envy the amazing sibling relationships that they’ll have for the rest of their lives.

    And as for the pumpkin designs, I have to hand it to Tommy (sorry…Thomas Robert) for creativity!

  • Nothing like democracy at its best. And everyone was pleased!

  • That is really special–you are right it will go down in family history. We drew names for Christmas last year, and all four kids drew their own names TWICE. It was crazy and the kids still talk about it.

  • Liz

    we only have 2 kids and I think this is a great idea!

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