Pumpkin uses, abuses and contest entries – VOTE for your fave

Pumpkins are great for a number of things that go far beyond Halloween. In fact, you can even kill a kid with one. Here are six ways of looking at these funky orange gourds:

Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

As artistic expression –

Check out the artistry of some fabulously talented TC.com readers who sent entries into our Pumpkin Decorating Contest. The slide show below showcases their creativity and the poll is open for votes through Saturday Nov. 7. Winner will receive a yet-to-be-created piece of creepy Rynart.

As protection –

Jack-o-lanterns came about not because people wanted to enter pumpkin decorating contests, but rather as a form of protection.

Legend has it this guy named Stingy Jack played a few trick on the devil and, when Jack died, would not be admitted into either heaven or hell, according to History.com.

The devil gave the guy a piece of burning coal and told him to go wander the earth for eternity. Jack carried around the coal piece in a hollowed-out turnip. Europeans for years used turnips, potatoes and beets for jack-o-lanterns until they immigrated to America and found the pumpkin to be the perfect choice.

This guy looks dead 100 years/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

This guy looks dead 100 years/Art by Loews pastry kitchen, photo Ryn Gargulinski

As a killer –

A little German kid died after his 10-year-old sister hurled a pumpkin at him as a joke and it hit him in the stomach, according to an 1884 archived news report posted at NYTimes.com. “He became very sick and died in a few hours,” the report said.

An unattended jack-o-lantern is also being blamed for staring a Northwest fire that killed three dogs and two cats, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star. Two dudes who lived in the house at 1200 block of West Giaconda Way reportedly lit candles in the decorative gourds – then left the house to go to work.

As a weapon –

Since we already know pumpkins can kill, perhaps the sight of one would be an ample deterrent for muggers, degenerates and unleashed dogs encountered on narrow Tucson pathways.

Please be advised it may take some ingenuity – and muscles – to walk around town with a pumpkin and may be much simpler to invest in pepper spray or a retractable baton.

As a healthy snack –

Pumpkin pie laden with whipped cream, sugar and other strange additives is not necessarily on the healthy menu, but plain ole pumpkin is. Pumpkin is rife with fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

Canned pumpkin, with no additives, is also a great way to get rid of a pet’s diarrhea, as my dog Sawyer found out when he got 1 tablespoon per day until his ailment passed, pun not intended.

As a seduction method

KoreyK. shared the story of the political pumpkin entries, which were used to seduce:

“One of my brother’s friends gave the pumpkins away, without my permission, to two sorority girls to take to their party, thinking it would get him laid. It didn’t. In fact, they wouldn’t even tell him the location.”

TC.com pumpkin decorating contest entries in alphabetical order (top four culled from hundreds of thousands submissions):


Vote now through Nov. 7 for your favorite entry in the TC.com pumpkin decorating contest.



What do you think?

Did you carve or smash any pumpkins this Halloween?

Is pumpkin a part of your daily diet?

What other uses to pumpkins have?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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38 Responses to Pumpkin uses, abuses and contest entries – VOTE for your fave

  1. radmax says:

    Ha! Mornin’ Rynski! Looks like Lindsey and I are setting the pace according to the votes tallied so far… (1 vote, mine) 🙂 . Great punkins, and probably more deserving artistically than ours, but who could pass up the opportunity obtain some of your fantastic art as a prize!
    PS-Did that hideous lookin’ punkin say pastry on it?…yummy….

  2. Rynski says:

    mornin radmax – yes, you guys are GALLOPING away with the vote!!! thanks for sending in your photos. i love all of them – and i also thoroughly enjoy the tradition, esp. when i learned more about its origin. hey – did you happen to see the movie Trick or Treat? jack-o-lanterns are successfully used to ward off evil dead kids from the school bus.
    ps. yes – that pastry punkin takes the cake for gross! haha

  3. leftfield says:

    Nice work, everybody. 

    Ryn, dare I mention that the pumpkins looked “menacing”? 

  4. Jennatoolz says:

    Yay!! How fun! The pumpkins all look great – especially mine. 😉

    Sadly, the Hungry Demon’s teeth shriveled up a day or so after the pic was taken. He was unable to chew up his next victim, so he’ll remain hungry forever more. 😛

    • Rynski says:

      oh, the poor, starving demon. at least he got one good chomp in before he went into starvation mode (haha). maybe he can still ingest pureed things, or that pumpkin from a can – i heard it had many health benefits – haha.
      thanks!! for entering, too. the contest would not have been complete without a hungry demon in it.

  5. azmouse says:

    What competition!! They all turned out so good.

    I had to do a scarecrow, to make up for the mullet scarecrow that my dog Tibet ate as I was sleeping. The scarecrow pumpkin took all day to do, so I was still carving the second one while kids were ringing the door bell for candy. lol

    • radmax says:

      They’re awesome az! But hey, didn’t you win the last contest? 🙂

    • Jennatoolz says:

      Haha, my neighborhood got a little crazy! It was fun though. At one point, I had to leave to go to Walgreens, so I had to be extra careful when backing out of my driveway. Lot’s of little creatures running about! 😛

      So far, she’s got the lead! 😀

      Which means more people should VOTE FOR ME!!! Haha 😛

      • radmax says:

        Jennatoolzs, your punkin’ ROCKS! I’ve never seen a cannibal punkin’ before… 🙂 PS- Hey Rynski, perhaps you should categorize the prizes, originality, humor, frightening, etc., since you have those hundreds of thousands of entries… 🙂

      • azmouse says:

        C’mon Maxxie, I’m trying to get a Ryn-art collection going!!

      • radmax says:

        Ha! Hi az. The way you’re going you can open a Ryngallery soon. 🙂

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Thanks for the compliment Radmax! 😀

        Haha, in all fairness, Azmouse and I both are proud owner’s of Rynart! As of Friday night, I’m now permanently stamped with a cool new tattoo…of a one of a kind Ryn-design. Yep, I got Gargulinski’ed! 😀

      • Rynski says:

        yaaay! on the tattoo jennatoolz – i am so honored to have designed one for you! but radmax, too, has rynart – he’s got some rynchimes. so if we’re going for a winner who has no rynart yet, we’ll have to go with koreyk, no?

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Haha, of course I sent Ryn the pics. Thats the first thing I did when I got home after getting it done.  She can feel free to send it off to whomever she wishes! 😀

      • Jennatoolz says:

        Good point!! I’m anxious to see how the voting turns out…can’t wait til the end! Good luck to all entries! 😀

      • azmouse says:

        You gotta send Ryn pics of the tattoo, so she can send them to me to see!!

      • Rynski says:

        i will post a PHOTO OF JENNATOOLZ amazing new tattoo in the near future so the whole world can ooh and ahh (it does look awesome – good job by artist andre!)

      • Jennatoolz says:

        good job by artist Rynski too! 😀

      • Rynski says:

        yes – my neighborhood has dozens, if not hundreds?, of creepy little costumed kids as well. while i enjoyed the costumes and frivolity, i did not enjoy having to dodge heavy traffic streaming into the streets.
        MANY of the trick or treaters were being carted in from other areas to get goodies from our nabe.

        is that acceptable or gauche, to forego trick or treating on your own block and go where you think the candy is?
        i thought it kinda rude??

    • Rynski says:

      so glad you got a scarecrow in there somehow – AZMouse! and thanks for BOTH entries.
      i hope tibet has recovered from eating the mullet scarecrow parts…you can always feed him pumpkin to aid digestion….

  6. koreyk says:

    “yaaay! on the tattoo jennatoolz – i am so honored to have designed one for you! but radmax, too, has rynart – he’s got some rynchimes. so if we’re going for a winner who has no rynart yet, we’ll have to go with koreyk, no?”

    Wouldn’t that be a little like affirmative action?

    But, it would be exciting to get me some rynart!  Or burnt pumpkin seeds.

    • azmouse says:

      I can hook ya up with the seeds…not burnt though. lol

      • koreyk says:

        Thanx azmouse.  I might just take you up on that. 

        However, if I recall correctly, the rules stated that “Sawyer” gets to choose whether the prize is rynart or burnt pumpkin seeds.

    • Rynski says:

      egads, koreyk, you are correct on your affirmative action theory – eeek! i am not a fan of such concepts, so i’ll have to leave the voting up to the general public.
      may the best pumpkin win on votes alone!
      …p.s. yes, burnt pumpkin seeds are a fine prize indeedy!

      • koreyk says:

        Oh crap…I screwed myself!!!

        Actually, I knew what I was doing when I wrote that.  And, technically the rynart is analogous to the wages rather than the job, but the point is still the same.  For the record, I do believe that affirmative action can be a valid tool in some circumstances, when used as a nudge rather than an entitlement with the notion that its successful implementation will render future use unnecessary.  This is not one of those circumstances.   

        May the best pumpkin win on its merits.

      • leftfield says:

        Arrrrrrrrrrg.  Trying…very…hard…not…to…respond…affirmative action….Arrrrrrrrrg. 

        Oh, hell with it.  When they eliminate affirmative action for the dominant race, then we can talk about eliminating it for others.  You are not talking about a level playing field, because the playing field has never been level.  There is such a thing as white privilege and it is a powerful force.

        Now, get back to your pumpkins and remember, you forced my hand.

      • Rynski says:

        like we said – may the best punkin win!

  7. azmouse says:

    Well, I think ALL the pumpkins are winners!

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