Somehow, I never felt the need to carve a pumpkin before. This particular decoration always seemed to me better when done in plastic, especially after a couple years back some ghostly villains went through the neighborhood and smashed all the pumpkins. My neighbors woke up to a pumpkin puree mess on their porch and I can't say that it looked appetizing at all.
A couple of weeks ago my kids went to a pumpkin patch and brought home their pumpkins: medium-sized for my son and small one for my daughter. In the past we would just paint the pumpkins and set them on out mantle, where they aged gracefully for a couple of weeks.
This year, however, my daughter had her mind set on carving, and she came up with her own design. She picked out her 5-inch pumpkin with the vine sticking out specifically to make an elephant. I did my best to help her. I cut off the pumpkin side and then she hollowed it out. She drew up the design and taped it on, then I went on to carve. Let's just say the pumpkin was very hard, but it all worked out.
Then my daughter cut out a pair of ears from a piece of cardboard and we tried to secure them with hot glue - this is how we found out that pumpkins do not glue well. Nevertheless, the two of us are a very resourceful couple, so we managed to attach the ears by sticking in two toothpicks behind each ear and one in front. Our elephant, that looked more like a mouse, was now complete!
For those of you with Russian background, we named it Cheburashka from Hell :)
After that carving the second much larger and softer pumpkin using traditional design my son picked was a blast. Now we have the two of them sitting on our black kitchen counter, and I hope they'll last for a couple of days before they begin to wilt.