By Tom Interval
Last year I skipped my annual ritual of carving a Houdini jack-o’-lantern, but on this day—the eve of Halloween and of Houdini’s 91st death anniversary—I’m pleased to share a few photos of the one I made this year. (View jack-o’-lanterns from previous years.)
And a little closer:
And a little farther:
And here are a few pictures for those who are interested in the process of carving our man’s magical face into a pumpkin.
1. I created simplified, high-contrast artwork from the famous Strobridge litho, dubbed by magic collectors as “Houdini for President.” The white parts of the high-contrast image represent the sections cut out of the pumpkin, so I had to be sure all the black parts were interconnected so the finished jack-o’-lantern was stable (i.e., so pieces of the face—especially the eyes and mouth—didn’t fall off).
2. I imported the artwork into Word, lightened it, and printed it as a light-gray template.
3. After hollowing out the pumpkin, I trimmed the template, taped it onto the pumpkin, and traced the lines with pokes of a safety pin to transfer the design.
4. If you look closely, you can see the pinpricks.
5. With small pumpkin-carving tools, I sawed away for quite a while, being particularly careful around the more delicate areas, such as the eyes, ears, and mouth.
The finished jack-o’-lantern could have turned out a bit better, but I’m happy with it overall since Houdini’s likeness came out fairly well.