Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pumpkin Patch Pumpkins Vs. Craft Pumpkins

Last Halloween my boyfriend and I took my niece and nephew around to a few homes with my sister. While trick-or-treating we came upon a house that had his door steps lined with pumpkins. These pumpkins had carvings on them that obviously were traced from one of those pumpkin carving kits. Ray and I knew these kits all too well, we bought them every year. He is a pumpkin carving junkie, as am I. However our pumpkins; as fantabulous as they turned out, looked nothing like these professional pumpkins that stood before us on the home owners stairs.
When he answered the door, we of course all had to ask him how he did it. How he managed to have such perfect looking pumpkins, with perfect carvings.
"Craft Pumpkins! Neat eh!?"
He then explained how he had the pumpkins for 2 years now, and that they are great because they never rot, and you save tons of money on buying actual pumpkins. He told us after Halloween he simply stores them in the garage attic and takes them out year after year.
In my mind I thought that it was cool, but also kind of boring. Isn't Halloween supposed to include pumpkin carving every year? I mean without pumpkin carving, where is the spirit of Halloween?
At the same time though, I thought it was an excellent idea, because those carvings can sometimes take hours and hours, and you want to cry when the pumpkin begins to rot just 2 days later.
This year while we were headed out to pumpkin pick Ray remembered the mans craft pumpkins from last year. We did a U turn and headed to Michael's Craft Store instead. We love carving real pumpkins, but really kids enjoy it more, and we knew by purchasing craft pumpkins we could use them every year, and save a nice chunk of change.
You see on Long Island, you can easily spend $30.00-$40.00 on 7-8 pumpkins.
Where To Find Craft Pumpkins:
Honestly I have never seen craft pumpkins anywhere else except for Michael's Crafts, and AC Moore. Seeing how Michael's was just up the road from where we were, we headed there.
Outside of the store we came across a large wire crate filled with the craft pumpkins. They were all the same though. We were looking for variety. We wanted small ones, medium sized ones, and a few large ones.
We went inside and found just that. Luck was also on our side, because all of the craft pumpkins were 50% off. We ended up spending $45.00 on 2 large craft pumpkins, 2 medium sized ones, and 2 small ones. 6 craft pumpkins. We knew we could of walked away from a pumpkin field with way more pumpkins for that price; but would the pumpkin patch pumpkins last year after year, after year!? Hell no!
Carving Craft Pumpkins:
Michael's actually had a shelf lined with 'artificial pumpkin carving tools'. These tools though were the exact same tools that you would use to carve real pumpkins.
My observation: Skip on this. The craft pumpkins will look messy if you use the pumpkin tools. To carve really professional looking craft pumpkins you will need a small razor. (A craft razor)
First and foremost you need to cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin. As you would a normal pumpkin. You need to be able to remove to top to place in a light, and to remove excess scraps.
Next you simply carve the pumpkin the way you want to, or by using a pumpkin stencil. We used stencils.
To be honest with you, these pumpkins are way harder to cut than a normal pumpkin. I had no idea how difficult it would be. With craft pumpkins you risk messing up or breaking pieces of the pumpkin which could ruin your entire pattern. Luckily though they can be glued, so if you accidentally cut off a piece you didn't mean to, you can always glue it back on (you can't do that with normal pumpkins).
You really have to make sure you have a sharp fresh razor in your blade, otherwise you could end up ruining the pumpkin due to added pressure. You see the pumpkins are rather thin, and even though they are durable, if you apply pressure while cutting you could easily wreck the design.
It is my opinion that young children avoid carving craft pumpkins. Although children may want to get involved, I cannot recommend it.
It is my opinion that craft pumpkins only be used by adults, if you have children I would buy regular pumpkin patch pumpkins. Craft pumpkins call for gentle hands, children would break them. Breaks lead to slips of knives...so I would totally avoid it.
The Difference Between Craft Pumpkins and Actual Pumpkins:
Craft pumpkins are great for adults with no children who are looking to save money year after year, and cannot stand the mess of actual pumpkins. Actual pumpkins are great for families with children because they are easier to cut.
Regular pumpkins may be cheaper to purchase in bulk, but craft pumpkins in the long run save you money seeing how yo will not have to purchase pumpkins year after year. They do not rot either. Duh!
Pumpkin picking is a fun event for those with small children. For those who do not like walking around pumpkin patches, they can save themselves time and energy by getting craft pumpkins.
The Choice, Craft Or Real? Real Or Craft?
For me it is craft pumpkins. But for others, weigh out your options, and decide for yourself. Either way carving is as equally fun; there is no denying that.

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