Growing up religious, my family never celebrated Halloween. The main event my mom would organize for Halloween was staying in, turning off all the lights and watching old 70’s Halloween movies while pigging out on junk food.
As an adult, I have started my own traditions. Pumpkin carving is definitely a new tradition. This year, I thought it would be fun to carve a pumpkin that combines a traditional scary theme(zombies) with one of my beloved passions(architecture.)
That said, this pumpkin is all about how you see it. It is a gazebo and it is a zombie. The more you look at it, the more you will see! Think of yourself sitting inside a gazebo in a park at midnight with your pals. All is fun and games until you realize something has gone terribly wrong and the very gazebo you sit in is alive and ready to eat you!
May I introduce Zombie-Gazebo: A Haunted Jack-o’-lantern!
This Instructable includes 28 steps. Making your very own Zombie-Gazebo should take you about 2-3 hours.
In order to make your very own Zombie-Gazebo you will need:
1.) 1 pumpkin (size of your choosing)
2.) 1 basic pumpkin carving kit (purchasable at Walgreens or any store that carries seasonal products) OR carving knives that will make both general and detailed cuts.
3.) 1 black dry erase marker (which allows for erasing-IMPORTANT)
4.) 1 Cloth Measuring Tape (or any workable measuring tape that will wrap around the pumpkin’s surface)
5.) 1 U.S. quarter
6.) 1 - 2 Tablespoon hemispherical measuring spoon (or any other hemispherically shaped tool approximately 1.5 inches in diameter, such as a Disher ice cream scoop
7.) 1 Ice cream scoop or large spoon (for scraping pumpkin innards)
8.) Tape - any kind as long as it is sticky
9.) Plastic wrap (or a clean place to put your carved pumpkin scraps)
10.) Windex and a scrubbing sponge OR cotton balls and rubbing alcohol(for cleaning)
Step 1: Sticky Tape
Cut a small piece of sticky tape and attach it to the inside of the cloth measuring tape, where the tape begins at 1 inch. The tape should be sticky side up and attached to the underside of the cloth measuring tape(on the opposite side of the inch marks.)
Step 2: Start to Measure
Approximately 1/3 of the length down the pumpkin(vertically) wrap the pumpkin(horizontally) with the cloth measuring tape. Connect the sticky tape back to the cloth measuring tape at the point where the measurement is complete. The cloth measuring tape should be able to lay on the pumpkin on its own, so that you can trace it with a marker.
Step 3: Horizontal Line 1
Trace around the top edge of the cloth measuring tape until you have completed a circle(horizontally.) This will be the edge of the exposed zombie brain. From now on this line will be referred to as H1(for horizontal line 1)
It is useful to keep in mind that you will be able to erase your immediate marks with the oils in your finger. With a blurrier result, you will still be able to erase your marks after more time has passed. A piece of cut pumpkin along with the oils in your finger will also rub out dry erase marks.
Step 4: First Ring of Circles
Starting by the stem of the pumpkin, use your measuring spoon or Disher ice cream scoop(measuring approximately 1.5 inches in diameter) to trace a circle that hugs the natural lines and spaces of the pumpkin stem. Continue tracing circles around the stem until you have completed a ring(the first ring) of traced circles. Make an honest attempt to touch the circles together, keeping the circles as close to the pumpkin stem as possible. Since the pumpkin is not an exact sphere, you will not be able to make exact measurements. Simply trace the circles as close as you can to each other and as equally apart as you can while hugging the stem. You will need to trace complete circles. Err on the side of tracing complete circles rather than tracing an incomplete circle on account of the stem interfering. Erase as needed.
Step 5: Starting the Second Ring of Circles
On a medium-sized pumpkin(as pictured) you should now have a ring of 5-6 complete circles, hugging the stem of the pumpkin. Concentrating on two of those circles, draw another complete circle below and exactly in between them. Continue around until you have drawn a circle underneath all the pairs of circles possible, making sure that you address them all. There should be a space in between the circles you’ve drawn that will be large enough to trace another circle to fill it in.
Step 6: Finishing the Second Ring of Circles
Now, fill in the gaps of the second ring of circles. Again, make sure that you trace complete circles. Make sure that, like the first ring, the circles in the second ring are as equally spaced and as close to touching as possible. Because of the pumpkin’s natural shape, this ring of circles may not be perfectly aligned. Do your best and expect the circles to follow the pumpkin’s natural shape. Erase and re-draw as needed.
The topmost picture above shows an example of an attempted circle on my pumpkin that did not fit. I had to erase it, and the circles around it and re-draw all of them to even the ring out.
Step 7: Horizontal Line 2
Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3, measuring 1/3 of the pumpkin’s length upwards from the bottom of the pumpkin(vertically.) Wrap the cloth measuring tape around the pumpkin, using sticky tape to attach and hold it together(repeating the exact methods used in steps 1 and 2.) Trace around the top of the cloth measuring tape to draw a line around the bottom of the pumpkin(repeating the exact methods used in step 3.) From now on this line will be referred to as H2(for horizontal line 2.)
Step 8: Horizontal Line 3
Turning the pumpkin sideways, draw a line 1 centimeter below and parallel to H2. Just eyeball it, being as exact as you can. Draw the line around the whole pumpkin as in steps 3 and 7. This will be a handle railing for the decorative “fence” of the gazebo that will double as the teeth for the zombie. From now on this line will be referred to as H3(for horizontal line 3)
Step 9: Horizontal Line 4
Keeping the pumpkin turned sideways, draw a line 1 inch below and parallel to H3. Again, eyeball it, being as exact as you can. This line will represent the bottom of the decorative fence pattern and bottom of the zombie’s teeth. From now on this line will be referred to as H4(for horizontal line 4)
Step 10: Beginning to Measure the Columns
Measure H1 with your cloth measuring tape. On my pumpkin H1 measured approximately 35 inches. Use a computer calculator or good old fashion pencil and paper to divide that measurement by 6. On the pumpkin that I used, 35 inches divided by 6 was 5 3/4 inches.
Once you have established the measurement of H1, divided by 6, measure that exact amount (for my pumpkin 5 3/4 inches) around the pumpkin, marking both the left and right end of the measurement on the top of H1 with your dry erase marker. I applied sticky tape to the backside of the cloth measuring tape to make it easier to mark the pumpkin. Continue until you have made marks completely around the pumpkin along H1.
Step 11: More Measuring for the Columns
Repeat step 10, but now measure H2 with your cloth measuring tape. Divide that measurement by 6, repeating the process you executed in step 10, marking the pumpkin on both the right and left ends, around the pumpkin.
Step 12: Marking the Columns
Now, draw marks approximately 1 centimeter to the left and right of each mark you made in steps 10 and 11. We are creating a 2 centimeter wide space in which to trace the columns of the gazebo. Make your current marks on the opposite side of H1 and H2 than the marks you made in steps 10 and 11(for visual acuity.)
Step 13: Drawing the Columns
The marks you made in step 12 should have a 2 centimeter space between them, horizontally. Additionally, those marks should be approximately aligned, vertically, between H1 and H2 on both the left and right sides. Connect the marks you made in step 12 on H1 and H2, doing your best to draw a straight line between them. If you need to trace from a ruler or another linear object, please do. When you are done, you should have six linear columns that are approximately 2 centimeters wide each.
Step 14: Beginning the Teeth
In between one column that you drew in step 13, draw a straight line, starting from the center of the column, down, to connect H3 and H4 vertically. It will look something like the picture above. Please do not pay attention to additional lines as you will not need them until later.
Step 15: Continuing the Teeth
Starting from the line you drew in step 14, continue to draw vertical lines in between H3 and H4, around the pumpkin, spaced 1 inch apart. Draw around the pumpkin until you reach the original mark you made in step 14. The squares you have now drawn will be used to make the teeth and gazebo fence decoration that I mentioned in steps 8 and 9.
Step 16: Finishing the Teeth
Next, to make the teeth, you will be drawing an isosceles triangle within each square that you drew in step 15. We will draw the triangle in a specific way - upside down - with the base along H3 and the apex along H4. In other words reversed.
Within each square, draw a diagonal line from the center of the bottom line of the square and connect it to the left corner at the top of the square. Do the same on the right side. The result will be an isosceles triangle drawn upside down. Every square should have an upside down triangle drawn inside.
After you have finished drawing the triangles around the pumpkin, use your dry erase marker to thicken the lines of each triangle. The lines of each triangle should be approximately 1/2 centimeter thick. We will be cutting around these thick lines later to carve the teeth/decorative fence pattern.
Step 17: Drawing the Third Ring of Circles
Now we will finish tracing the pattern of circles that we began in steps 4, 5 and 6. Perform the same method that you used in step 5, concentrating on two of the circles in the second ring. Again, draw a complete circle below and in between them. Continue around the pumpkin as we did in step 5. Then, finish by filling in the gaps, as you did in step 6. DO NOT DRAW A COMPLETE CIRCLE IF IT EXTENDS OVER H1. H1 resembles the end and defining edge of the brain. Draw the circles in this row until they reach H1. When the outline reaches H1, it will be complete.
Step 18: Drawing the Eyes
Now we will return to the columns we completed in step 13. We will be drawing the template for the openings of the gazebo that will double as the eyes of the zombie.
Begin by drawing lines(horizontally) in between all of the columns, 1 centimeter below H1. Do not draw into the columns.
In the space between any two columns, starting from the center of the lines you just drew, draw an angular line that ends 1/3 of the way down the column to the left. Repeat this on the right side as well. When you have finished, draw a line approximately 1 centimeter below and parallel to each of those angular lines, merging them.The template will look like a house-shaped pentagon that has a 1 centimeter wide roof.
Continue around the pumpkin until you have repeated this process in between all columns.
Step 19: Carving Around the Circles
It is time to start carving! Put some plastic down to lay the carved pieces of pumpkin on. We will begin at the top. Cut out the spaces in between the circles on top of the pumpkin. For a medium to large size pumpkin like I have, only cut about 1/2 an inch into the pumpkin. The goal is to carve out the pieces around the circles without cutting all the way through. A smaller pumpkin than mine will have less flesh and in that case you will need to make a shallower cut.
Step 20: Natural Erasing
Re-draw any lines that have erased with the natural pumpkin juices.
Step 21: Cutting Off the Top of the Pumpkin
Now that the spaces between the circles have been removed, cut along the edge of the first ring of circles all the way through the flesh and take the top of the pumpkin off. I used an ordinary steak knife to do this. Now scoop out the guts and dispose of or compost them, saving the seeds for toasting if you’d like. Also dispose of or compost your removed pumpkin pieces as needed.
Step 22: Circles Within Circles
Use a quarter and trace a circle within each circle already on top of the pumpkin. When you trace the quarter, the measurements should be equidistant to the outer edge and as exact as possible.
Step 23: Beginning to Carve the Circles
Now, using a finer carving tool, at a 45 degree angle, begin carving from the quarter marks you drew in step 22, down, to the outside edge of each circle. We are beginning to form hemispheres that will represent the brains of the pumpkin
Step 24: Perfecting the Circles and Creating Hemispheres
Use a precision knife to create a hemisphere from each circle. Perfect the hemispheres to the best of your ability, exposing less of the orange pumpkin skin on top. The orange flesh left on top of the circle should be approximately the size of the end of a pen. Trace around the end of a pen if you need to, as a template similar to the quarter you traced. I cut an approximate template for myself with the blade of my carving knife. As in step 23, cut from the top outward. Stick to cutting at approximately a 45 degree angle, adjusting as needed. As you cut off more of the orange skin on top of the circle, the hemisphere will naturally begin to develop and take shape. Do not worry about perfecting the flesh in between each hemisphere.
Step 25: Carving the Eyes
Now it is time to begin carving the rest of the pumpkin. Return to the house-shaped pentagons you drew in step 18. In each section, carve around the four angular lines you drew in step 18, leaving just the flesh in between those lines. This includes cutting out the lower space that follows the house-shaped pentagon pattern, and cutting out the space above the top angular lines up to the lines 1 centimeter below H1. The columns represent the edge where each cut ends. Do not cut into the columns.
Step 26: Carving the Teeth
Finally, returning to step 16, carve around the thick outlines of each triangle that you drew. You will be carving out a smaller triangle inside those lines. When you finish you will have carved teeth that doubles as a decorative fence. Be careful as the cuts are more precise.
Step 27: Cleaning Up
In order to complete the pumpkin, wash off all of the dry erase marks. The most effective way to do this is to use cotton balls and rubbing alcohol. Another effective way is to use a scrubbing sponge and windex. Another way is to use a carved piece of the pumpkin, rubbing it against the marks, then erasing with your fingers (this last method will take a long time.)
Step 28: ENJOY YOUR ZOMBIE-GAZEBO!
Now you have your very own Zombie-Gazebo. Please fill with several candles, light and enjoy!! Happy Halloween!!