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My wife found a funny idea on Pinterest for a Halloween house decoration. The original idea came from the Nifty Thrify and Thriving blog.

I knew the instant I saw the picture that we would be doing this project! We are fortunate to have an ideal design on our front entrance for this idea. The roof line and curved arch worked really well for the base of the face. I loved the idea of a turning our house’s entrance into a funny looking monster.

I made it from Elmer’s tri-fold cardboard project board. It was attached with fishing line and duct tape, which barely worked. I looked at this first attempt as a prototype for the idea. A longer-lasting design would need better materials and a better way to attach it.

Halloween house with funny monster face and teeth

Most everyone got a good laugh out of it. I’m not sure if any little kids were scared of it. I think some kids didn’t even notice it, as they were solely focused on their candy acquisition mission.

Halloween house with funny monster face and teeth


Google PowerMeter RIP

After being removed from life support on September 16, 2011, Google PowerMeter has today finally slipped into the great beyond.

Google Power RIP Rest In Peace

I worked on integrating Google PowerMeter support into one of my work’s energy monitoring products. After our product was on the market for several months, Google announced it was done with PowerMeter and would shut it down. Argh!!!! Luckily, there’s numerous other players in this field that are much better suited to our commercial and industrial customers.

At risk of speaking poorly of the deceased, I was never very fond of PowerMeter. The service had very basic functionality and the API was way too big for what little it offered. It was a good start, but it was obvious that Google was no longer investing in it. After improvements and changes had trickled to a halt, it was not a surprise when they announced its end.

Pac-Man Pumpkin

For Halloween 2010, I made Pac-Man and Ghost pumpkins. This was a fun homage to a favorite arcade game from my youth.

I decided to use an extreme and aggressive version of the Pac-Man character, so I added large teeth, eyes, and eyebrows. For the ghost, I used the a design closer to the original character. For Pac-Man I selected a fairly round pumping, and for the ghost I selected a taller and oblong pumpkin.

First, I drew out the design with non-permanent  marker.

Pacman and Ghost pumpkins with ink outline

Then, I performed the initial carving. Here’s the Pac-Man before peeling the pumping skin for the teeth.

Pac-man pumpkin before peeling the skin for the teeth

Here’s the final result, along with the placard for the contest at my work. Unfortunately, I did not win this time around.

Where the Hunted Becomes the Hunter

Here’s another picture outside. My daughters really enjoyed these pumpkins, and they were a lot of fun.

Pac-Man and Ghost pumpkins

Finally, here’s a picture at night with candles.

Pac-Man and Ghost pumpkins at night with candles

In 2009, I carved a pumpkin facing his own mortality. I came upon the idea while searching on Google. Unfortunately, I cannot recall where I saw it, so I’m unable to give proper credit.

This was my first attempt at peeling away the pumpkin skin to get a different shade and depth. I found it to be very effective.

Scared and terrified pumpkin looking at recipe card and ingredients for pumpkin pie

Obviously, the gag is quite simple. A scared pumpkin is looking down at the ingredients for a pumpkin pie. He understands his position, is unable to flee, and waits for his most certain destruction!

Luckily, we had most of the props required. The brown eggs are wooden toys, and my wife kindly made a recipe card.

Close up of recipe card

I worked quite a bit on getting the right expression. I tried many different shapes for the eyes and mouth. I would draw the ideas on paper, cut them out, and then tape to the pumpkin. It took awhile, but was very helpful in getting exactly what I wanted.

Using a paper cutout to check the face design of the pumpkin

I once again entered my creation in my work’s pumpkin carving contest and won second place, which netted me $75!

Me and my prize winning pumpkin

Here’s a few other pumpkins I carved that year. I first tried the skin peeling on the little one for practice.

All of our 2009 pumpkins, all with skin peeling

Ballot Box Pumpkin

In October 2008, during the presidential elections, I decided to make a ballot box out of a pumpkin. I thought it was pretty clever, since a hollowed out pumpkin could act as a box, and there needed to be a top slot anyway to vent the candle. The carving was quite simple, which was nice since I hadn’t carved a pumpkin in quite a few years.

I entered the annual pumpkin carving contest at work but did not win or even place. Perhaps it was too political during that heated election season! But I was encouraged when quite a few high school age trick-or-treaters got a kick out of it.

Ballot box pumpkin

Close up of ballot in the pumpkin

Ballot box pumpkin at night with candle