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    « The most MC TV ads you’ll see this Christmas | Main | Emergency etiquette guide: How to react when undergoing the Ice Bucket Challenge »

    Halloween Pumpkin as Status Symbol: A guide to Britain’s conspicuous carvers


    Is it just in my own north London locale, or have the middle classes become quietly competitive about Halloween pumpkin carving? I know people have experimented before, but this year it all seems to have moved up a level: on my street, a café has a window display of pumpkins “carved by a local artist”, my neighbour has told me she is doing FOUR for her balcony, and on Facebook I have already seen two jack o’lanterns decorated with stencil-assisted outlines of film characters. It’s become the autumnal, MC version of competing to see who can have the most Christmas lights: where will it end? And how long, I wonder, before Britain gets American-style pumpkin-carving classes?

    So far, the conspicuous carvers fall into five tribes, here’s a quick guide:

    1 The Artist

    Holes are not good enough for the artist; instead they peel off the outer skin and carve a realistic (if scary) human face in it. Clearly begun in early September. Showy.

    2 The Classicist

    A traditional, scary face, but with dozens of uniformly-sized, perfectly-pointed teeth that must have taken hours to do. May backfire by making small children cry – but then this isn’t actually about the children, is it? Frightening, in more ways than one.

    3 The Stenciller

    Downloaded a stencil of a classic Star Wars scene last week and has been busy ever since. His (and let’s face it, it is always a he) Instagram followers will love it! Bit weird to us, but who are we to argue?

    4 The Modernist

    Rather than carving, the modernist gets out the power drill and creates an impressive, polka-dot pattern of differently-sized holes. VERY middle-class.

    5 The Bodger

    Old-school: a couple of eyes hastily hacked out, and a row of fangs – all done on the fly because the owner forgot to buy one until they suddenly realised what day it was. Perfectly adequate, actually.

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