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Life-size Skeleton Pumpkin Carving!

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Step 1: Pumpkin Shopping

Picture of Pumpkin Shopping
Finding the right pumpkins can be quite a challenge. You'll have better luck with a rural grower with a variety of shapes and sizes... the soulless clones that make it to your supermarket are just too perfect.

You'll need five separate pumpkins:
1. The skull: Shaped like a pear, and as big as your head
2. Torso / ribcage: Tall, barrel-shaped, or large pear, and torso-sized
3. Pelvis: spherical (a soulless clone will work for this one).
4. Limbs: As tall as your femur. The taller gourds tend to have thick skin and are stronger than pumpkins with poorer posture.
5. Feet & Hands: spherical (clone OK). You may be able to use parts from the other pumpkins for these...

It's an odd experience to hunt for pumpkins with this twisted agenda; you're not looking for perfection, you're trying to see the potential for body parts. But the nice thing is, these are usually pumpkins that nobody wants, because normal people don't make skeletons out of them.
Of course, you're looking at some serious total weight by the time you find all of your pumpkins, so be prepared to pay for well over fifty pounds.
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Woah this is incredible! Thank you for such a thorough instructable.
fantasticx29 months ago
Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This would be great to place right outside our front door. Our next door neighbor already thinks my cat is evil! LOL
sze arteest2 years ago
That's cool!
knexboy5862 years ago
does it rot?
mcraghead (author)  knexboy5862 years ago
Why, of course!
i mean leomon juice!
did you know u can put in a bath filled with lemon and it wont rot !
LucDaRocka12 years ago
how do you make them stand up????
You're really good at that, to say the least.
ANTQNUT4 years ago
huh is that second picture made with pumpkin too? really cool stuff! 
lol, i have so many great ideas now that you've shown how to do this! :D
purplekitty5 years ago
It's very cool but why waste so many pumpkins like that..
mcraghead (author)  purplekitty5 years ago
Waste is relative: the best Pumpkins to use for this are bumpy and weird, and are therefore more likely to be left in the field by the majority of the pumpkin-hunters out there who are seeking perfection. Either way, I compost when the skeleton starts to get gross, so they'll either compost in my yard or at the pumpkin patch...
mcraghead (author) 5 years ago
abalone45 years ago
wow u have a lot of skill
bowmaster5 years ago
OHMYGOSH Thats AWESOME!!!
Plasmana5 years ago
That is so AMAZING!!!
indeepknit5 years ago
This is a thing of beauty. I'm dumbstruck with awe... sigh :)
aah! this is frackin awesome
Kiteman6 years ago
Incredible! Please, can somebody make sure that the Hallowe'en rules allow this to be netered??
Netered?
*oh* Right.
There's no function to edit your own posts...
this is by far, absolutely the coolest instructable i've seen on this entire website yet...that is so cool i def. want to try that sometime halloween or not, maybe not pumpkins will be on sale? :D you rock man
mcraghead (author) 6 years ago
Hello folks! Thanks for all of your comments! This just in: I updated a few items in this instructable, providing additional tips I learned from 2007's skeleton, notably (as germinated by "Gentle Sherpa" suggestion, thanks!) the benefits of leaving more skin... Anybody have pix of their skeletal pumpkin creations? Let's see 'em!
Laptop_07-3.jpg
phildavi6 years ago
Wow!Real pumpkin sculputor1Thumbs up!
Whaleman6 years ago
awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks so cool!
This is REALLY cool, I will definately do this- if we get any pumpkins this year, I think most of them rotted away during the summer floods and there are only a few normally.
He has such personality - this is so awesome! This is such a big project and its really so original and great. :)
dude all i can say is this is bad@$$ ll(> _ <)ll nice work
you have skill
mcraghead (author) 6 years ago
Wow, thanks for all the kind words, folks!
Sax Guy6 years ago
I'm not certain whether this would work or not. I wonder if you could cut a hole in the pumpkin and fill it with water and black food coloring to "dye" it black from the inside out. Ideally, the inside would become black and shade to white toward the orange skin. You would have to do this prior to carving and may need to keep it filled for some time to give it the desired effect.
mcraghead (author)  Sax Guy6 years ago
Yep, that's the idea. Not sure how well the pumpkin would take the dye, but it might be worth the experiment. I do big scary jack-o-lanterns that would probably benefit from deeper shadows...
SM_head.jpgSM_head2.jpg
That truly does look wonderful, you have a real talent for the pumpkin arts! I wonder though, is there a way to retain the pumpkin skin on any part of this, without it looking odd? As detail, or shading, perhaps?
mcraghead (author)  The Gentle Sherpa6 years ago
Sure, particularly if you can select a weird enough shaped pumpkin in the first place, that doesn't require too much re-shaping before it becomes... bony. That way you can leave the outer skin.
As for looking odd... it could be done in a truly gruesome manner: leaving big chunks of orange might look like decaying flesh... bwaaaaahahahahahahaaaa........
Or some orange might be nice to say more loudly "this was a pumpkin" (most folks can't tell from a distance).
Detail would work, but probably not shading; the "dark" spots are on the outer surfaces, not the inner, where a real shadow would fall. I wonder if there is some way to dye from the inside? Then you'd be able to reveal a darker area when you dig deeper, which would yield more dramatic relief effects...
whatsisface6 years ago
This is brilliant!
F-zero6 years ago
damn, thats crazy, but I wouldn't have the patience or pumpkin skills to do so.
Wario6 years ago
Sweeeeet
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