What better way to mark Halloween than a pumpkin carving competition? This year, we decided to invite a selection of talented creatives to carve their own spooky Jack shell.
Pumpkin ‘Jack-o’-lanterns’ are as synonymous with Halloween as broomsticks, black cats and faux blood. They derive from a folklore tale about a wild trickster called Stingy Jack, who struck a deal with the devil that he would never take his soul. Jack eventually died and due to his devious life was forbidden entry into heaven. However the devil stuck to his word and did not allow him into hell either. Instead, he carved a turnip and placed the flames of hell inside for Jack to walk with for all eternity.
Last year specialist pumpkin artist Ray Villafane set the record for the largest pumpkin to go under the knife, whittling down the 1,872 pound pumpkin into an oozing zombie attack in the New York Botanical Gardens. Which is your 2012 winner?...
Fashion director Katie Shillingford: "Halloween is my favourite celebration of the year and although I'm not expert in pumpkin carving, I do like to try! I had lots of different ideas with what to do but I was perhaps a little impatient and ended up making it up as I went along. I wanted him to be really scary and have a big terrifying grin so I carved one side with sharp teeth and the other side with stitches as if his mouth had been slashed and stitched back together, a little Jack Skellington. The eyes are supposed to look like flames – I think this might have been subconsciously linked to thinking about the Prada 50s flames from S/S12."
Animator Quentin Jones: "I liked the idea of painting some of the pumpkin black- to do the opposite of carving it, to make the light shine out less from that area. Then I thought against this it could be great for the bit that was visible to seem liquid, dripping into a dark void."
"I wanted him to have a big terrifying grin so I carved one side with sharp teeth and the other side with stitches as if his mouth had been slashed and stitched back together"
Make-up artist Alex Box: "The heart has its reasons which reason knows not."
Hair stylist Alex Brownsell: "I have created an inner pink pumpkin with a funky tint hair style. One of a kind In the pumpkin world as they are usually bald, he is going to make others very envious."
Artist Julie Verhoeven: "Unlucky Pumpkin – boil in a bag roadkill."
Manicurist Marian Newman: "I've never carved a pumpkin before so felt I had to take on the challenge! My obvious choice was hands with 'light up' nails. My pumpkin is meant to be a pair of witchy hands with long red nails holding the light (for the polish obsessed I used CND Scarlet Letter!)."
Fashion designer Dominic Jones: "The point of the pumpkin lantern is to scare away the undead... I think this one is defiantly scary enough for the job"
Set designer Rhea Thierstein: "I have had a lifelong fascination with the insect world, so what better design for Halloween than the ‘Ogress’ of their species..."
'A long time ago, in the days of ancient Greece, this insect was named Mantis, or the Prophet. The peasant saw her on the sun-scorched grass, standing half-erect in a very imposing and majestic manner, with her broad green gossamer wings trailing like long veils, and her fore-legs, like arms, raised to the sky as though in prayer. To the peasant's ignorance the insect seemed like a priestess or a nun, and so she came to be called the Praying Mantis. There was never a greater mistake! Those pious airs are a fraud; those arms raised in prayer are really the most horrible weapons, which slay whatever passes within reach. The Mantis is fierce as a tigress, cruel as an ogress. She feeds only on living creatures.’
— Taken from Fabre’s “Souvenirs Entomologiques”
Text by Mhairi Graham