Carving A Kick-Ass Gaming Jack-O-Lantern

“What happens if you make a mistake while carving?” I asked Informationator.

“Uhh… Don’t make a mistake,” he replied, chuckling. “You need to be patient and careful.” Pumpkin carving doesn’t have a CTRL+Z function.

On average, Informationator estimates that the conceptualization and stenciling process takes 6-8 hours, while the carving takes 8-12.

While the work ends here for most pumpkin carvers, Informationator then moves on to one last stage: the photography. “I photograph it the same night,” he said, “because this stuff starts drying out really fast. It’s a short-term deal.”

Some may question whether putting all those man-hours into such a fleeting endeavor is worth the effort, but for Informationator, seeing this passion project to completion is its own reward.

“Seeing the finished product is the most rewarding part of it all. It just looks so cool. Knowing you’ve put hours into making a stencil, hours into carving [the pumpkin], and a lot of work doing photography and post-processing just to make it look the way it looks to our eyes. Just seeing that final photo at the end of all of it and being able to enjoy it and know that you can share it with people for years afterward, and that they can enjoy it, too.”

Informationator’s favorite pumpkin is his Mega Man 5 one, which is “accurate down to the pixel” and required “a ton of work.” Capturing the essence of the charged blast was a huge task alone. “I had to take the screenshot at the right millisecond to get the coolest-looking blast.”

This year’s oeuvre was inspired by a League of Legends contest that was brought to his attention. “My buddy Caleb said, ‘Hey, they’re doing a contest,’ and I’m like, ‘I want to win.’” Informationator chose to portray Jinx, the game’s latest champion, and I got an exclusive sneak peek at his stencil before the carving began.

“I hope it goes well,” he said. “There are so many intricate details in this one; I think it will be more difficult than I initially anticipated.”

Informationator’s advice to anyone daring to take on an elaborate pumpkin-carving task can be summed up in two words: planning and patience.

“If you really want to do an awesome pumpkin, and you want to put in all of this work to do it, I would say… really, really, really take your time. Because you can’t un-carve what you’ve carved.”

“Planning is everything,” he continued. “Really plan your stencil out, so that you don’t have to worry about where to cut and where not to cut when you’re actually doing it later. That’s what much of my work goes into, transforming gradients and all of these different things into black and white.”

“If you want it to be good, you have to put in the time.”

Though Informationator is competing with his pumpkin-based artwork, he said that while he’s improving every year, he’s far from the best.

“I don’t claim to be doing anything special here,” he said. “I’ve seen people do insane relief-carvings and gradients that put mine to shame, but it’s a fun annual tradition. Maybe others can join me and spread the gaming love next year.”

It looks like Informationator has outdone himself once again with his latest Jinx pumpkin — the final photograph is spectacular. We’ll update this article when we find out if he got a top spot in this year’s contest.

Informationator is one of the mods of Reddit’s game collecting community, where collectors from all over unite in their love of games and gaming culture — classic, modern, weird and otherwise. You can check them out here.

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