Jack ‘o Lantern Competition

We posted previously about Blizzard’s annual pumpkin carving contest, and the unfortunate (but unavoidable, given the number of players) dominance of WoW-themed imagery in recent years. That may be changing, thanks to the efforts of a family of master gourd-carvers, As this news item from Centerville, Virgina tells, a man with the unfortunate name of Noel Dickover is sharpening his carving knife.

As Halloween approaches, local residents are busy putting the final touches on their costumes for the big night. Centreville?s Noel Dickover is using every minute he can to finish carving his pumpkins. And not just garden variety Jack-O-Lanterns, either, but the kind of pumpkins that attract droves of people each year, from far and wide, to see his latest creations. And with more than 30 intricately carved pumpkins featuring everything from Mickey Mouse to movie characters to the hottest figures in science fiction, this Halloween?s offerings should be every bit as exciting as previous ones.

…Dickover, 42, of the Westbrooke community, has been designing and carving pumpkins for 11 years and has developed quite a following. “People send me photos of my patterns that they?ve carved into pumpkins,” he said. “It?s neat to have people carve my stuff.”

…THIS YEAR, two of his masterpieces will be sculptures, where he?s turned the pumpkin, itself, into an object, instead of putting a picture on top of it. “One is the inside of the egg from the movie, ?Alien,?” said Dickover. “I also have an Orc—a nasty, green, gorilla-like thing with huge tusks for teeth—from World of Warcraft.”

…Not surprisingly, Dickover?s whole family is also involved in the carving and have shown quite a bit of talent, themselves.

His son Justin, 16, a junior at Centreville High, did Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare before Christmas,” plus a flaming skull, and will also probably do a pumpkin representing the cover of the computer game, Diablo III. Daughter Sarah, 11, a sixth-grader at Centreville Elementary, carved a Goth version of Tinker Bell and a pumpkin honoring the Dr. Seuss classic, “Green Eggs and Ham.”

The ones his kids did are shown on the article, and they’re as good as Dad’s work. Check out many more photos, plus templates and carving tips, on his pumpkin home page. And no, it’s not Dickover.com. I’m afraid to see what that leads to, actually. Odds are I’d end up making this face.

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1 thought on “Jack ‘o Lantern Competition

  1. It’s very moving work…I think the piece is off to a good start. 

    I’m not really a legitimate music critic of any sort, just a guy who likes listening and playing.  But if you’re looking for feedback, here are the ways in which I would continue to build on your excellent start:

    1. More give and take with the tempo (rubato) in the phrasing. This will intensify the emotional impact. —might be hard to do with a synth.

    2. Vary the layering of your instrumentation.  Having every instrument playing in every measure starts to feel a bit “thick”, and IMO a bit ponderous in spots. (Sometimes, less IS more.)  In some phrases add layers of instruments, in others take some layers out.

    3. More dynamic variation…crescendo AND decrescendo will, again, help build intensity through your phrasing.

    4. If you want to lengthen the piece a bit, allow the choir to drop-out and add in a solo instrument over the top

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