Since miteiru! started up more than halfway through the semester, we haven’t had an opportunity to blog about our (awesome!) events. Thankfully, we’ve been taking lots of pictures throughout the semester, so now we can belatedly share our escapades with all the world.
We run about 1-2 events per month during the school year; some (like karaoke) are repeats every year, while others (like the one below) are kind of experimental. I’ll be posting a series of our events from this term, in reverse chronological order, since it seems most prudent.
Behold! Our (second) October event, Pumpkin Carving!
This was not just any pumpkin-carving event; as the anime-club, we obviously had an anime focus, providing anime and game related pumpkin patterns (many thanks to Leonof on deviantART for giving us permission to use his wide array of designs!) and giving away anime DVDs for some of the best designs (in totally arbitrary categories of our choosing). Also in this entry are some random shots of cosplay escapades with me and my friends on Halloween night. Pumpkin carving tips follow at the end of this entry.
We bought 30 pumpkins for the event; you can’t really tell from the photo, but there was a mountain in my dorm kitchen. Major pain to haul in, but seeing the quantity was somehow satisfying.
Last term, we watched all Pumpkin Scissors in club, so in all of our gloriously brilliant wit, we made our own. Even after hearing Alice’s explanation in the series, I still don’t quite understand what “pumpkin scissors” is supposed to signify, but oh well.
My photography skills are again full of fail, so I couldn’t get everyone in this shot, but there was quite a crowd~ We filled up a kitchen. A lot of folks (myself included) came in with pretty much no idea of how to carve pumpkins, so it was a pretty educational experience. (And no one lost a finger!)
The first stage– removing the lid.
Fast forward… And now, some of the lovely finished pumpkins:
Although the design is deceptively simple, the details are pretty hard to get so sharp, so the small bits here were pretty well done.
Moeagare! Gundam! It’s the RX-78 of course, the only model for REAL geeks. By the way, geek is a synonym for AWESOME.
We made an award category called “Bunny!” This is how
arbitrary amazing the contest portion of the night became. BUT IT’S SO CUTE!
My personal favorite of the night, the henohenomohe which, if you’re not familiar, is a popular Japanese doodle involving hiragana characters. You’ve probably seen it in anime before! JUST NOT ON A PUMPKIN.
Not really anime, but nicely done nonetheless, so we’ll include it anyway ^^
Some others not shown here (because my camera was giving me trouble gah) included the Team Gurren logo, Fullmetal Alchemist’s Flamel’s Cross, Apollo Justice, Navi from Legend of Zelda, a Dragonball, and mine, a giant Pokéball– which is kind of lame but, as one person explained, “You can yell ‘Pokéball, Go!’ and throw it at people, and that’s awesome.” (paraphrased)
As an aside from club activities, some otaku at MIT also use Halloween as an excuse to cosplay (even to class!). A couple friends and I trekked to Salem (yes, that Salem, MA) to check out the famous witch-burning tourist town for ourselves– while festively dressed in cosplay, of course!
Echan’s badass Mukuro cosplay, complete with an amazing replica of the trident! (Ignore the glasses; being able to see is important!)
Said person has actually never seen Eva 2.0… Th-this is a closet cosplay! I’m not as cool as my hardcore companions.
Since Dark and Ven are so good at doing creepy faces, a couple close ups are in order.
We weren’t the only ones with the crazy idea of walking through Salem in random anime costumes that no one (or maybe not “no one!”) would recognize. We met this Haruko cosplayer and all shared a happy cosplay otome moment. We also ended up seeing a few other cosplayers who all walked too quickly to be caught by our cameras: a Kurosu Yuki from Vampire Knight, a Lelouch Lamperouge/Zero from Code Geass (who gave us a weird look when we shouted “Zero, Zero!”), and, interestingly enough, a female animegao kigurumi who was actually pretty cute in a goth loli-esque dress and what looked to be a handmade mask.
Good times, good times.
As promised, pumpkin carving tips!
So, for all of you at home who are as pumpkinally-challenged as myself, here’re some (admittedly very basic) protips that you can use… in 11 months from now:
*) Before carving: when choosing (or drawing) your pattern, try to find stark designs with lots of contrast and without small details. Imagine how it’ll look on your pumpkin– you pretty much get only two colors, “black” and “white,” represented by either the pumpkin rind or the light coming out from the hole. More experienced carvers can shave off the very outside skin and expose the flesh, which adds a third “color.” Also make sure that the design is structurally sound– remember that if you carve out sections of the rind but intend to incorporate these into the design, they still must be attached to the pumpkin itself, and don’t let these sections hang by only a sliver or they’ll fall off.
*) Choose a pumpkin by your preference– large, small, orange, green, round, irregular– but make sure your pattern will fit on it. The stereotypical big “decorative pumpkins” are meant for carving, while smaller, denser “sugar pumpkins” are meant for pies; both will work, as will other gourds like white pumpkins and butternut squash.
1) Carving! Use a large knife– something like a butcher knife or smaller– to cut out a circle (or polygon or whatever) on the top of the pumpkin, as your lid. Make sure your hand can fit in the hole. As a suggestion, it helps if you cut in at an angle rather than straight down, so your conical lid can rest on your pumpkin instead of falling in. Also, cutting a triangular notch as part of the lid makes it easy to immediately figure out how your lid fits on.
2) Scoop out the guts. Use a large spoon to scrape the guts out. You can roast the seeds into a delicious snack!
3) Preparing the pattern. Affix the paper pattern onto the pumpkin with tape or such, or start drawing on the pumpkin in dry erase marker or crayon. Once your pattern is secured onto the pumpkin, use a poker, small nail, or the designated carving kit tool to poke holes outlines the places to carve out of your pumpkin, as if you were making a connect-the-dots puzzle. Remove the paper pattern, if you used it, when this step is complete.
4) Carving the pattern. There are a few different tools you can use for actually carving– small knives, a jig saw,
your bare hands. When cutting your pattern out along the dots, be patient, work slowly, and cut small segments at a time. You don’t want to rush, mess up, and have to start all over like I did, oh unhappy day.
5) Awesome, you’re done! No, not quite. Stick in a small candle or artificial pumpkin light or tea light, and display it!
Hope this was interesting, hope it helped, hope to do this again next year (when this post is more relevant)!