Adventures in Pumpkin Carving

I love Halloween, it’s easily a top-five holiday in my book.  So when we came out with a customized RoughRiders Jack-O’Lantern stencil on the team website, I was totally ready to do our entire office a favor by making one for all to enjoy.  The only problem?  It’s been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve actually carved a pumpkin.  I enlisted the help of Alex Yocum-Beeman, our Graphic Design Coordinator and creator of the ‘Riders pumpkin stencil, to provide the critical support I would need to create a masterpiece.  Alex had just come off a weekend of pumpkin carving with her husband, so her skills were undeniably sharp, whereas mine were as dull as the scooper used to gut the seasonal fruit.  (And yes, I did have to look up if was actually a fruit.  It just doesn’t seem right for some reason.)

Our journey began with a trip to the pumpkin patch on Preston Road in Frisco.  The supply had been somewhat depleted, making attention to detail for the right pumpkin imperative.

I inspect potential pumpkins for the perfect specimen.

Outside of baseball season, fall is the best season.

Keeping watch over the precious pumpkins.

After countless minutes of searching (actually it was more like five), the lucky pumpkin was selected.

After checking with the stencil shape, we had a winner!

Believe it or not (and I couldn’t believe it), but we do not keep pumpkin carving tools on hand in the offices at Dr Pepper Ballpark.  So we had to drop a Lincoln at Walgreen’s for some state-of-the-art equipment.

With these tools, we now could be pumpkin masters of our domain.

Figuring our co-workers would not be too thrilled with the sights (and smells, more importantly) of carving a pumpkin, AYB and I opted to take our task outside into one of the picnic areas of the ballpark.

That’s the batting cage that the ‘Riders use in the background.

After cutting off the top and scraping around inside…

AYB digging in.

… it was time to pull out its guts.

Tasty.

Once we got the innards removed and the stencil taped on, the carving began.

AYB handing the rudimentary tools like a surgeon.

The pattern looks simple enough, but those holes in the “R’s” and the gap between them were a little tricky.

I opted to remove the areas outside the “R’s” while AYB took care of the more detailed work (appropriate for a graphic designer).

Once we got the bulk of the pattern cut, we cleaned up some of the details.

Coming together nicely.

Yummy.

After the carving was all done, we took it for a candlelit test-drive.

Spooky stuff.

In comparison with the real deal, our Jack-O’-Lantern acquits itself nicely.  A job well-done if I do say so myself.

Proudly on display in our administrative office lobby!

I’m not sure how many awards our humble little RoughRiders pumpkin will receive, but in the end it came out looking pretty good.  A big thanks to AYB for all of her important contributions.  If anyone out there is making a RoughRiders pumpkin themselves, shoot a photo and e-mail it to me at avispoli@ridersbaseball.com.

Happy Halloween everybody!

- Alex V.

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