Life + Arts

DO IT YOURSELF: Prepare to scare, even at the last minute

Campus events such as the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library’s fifth annual Great Pumpkin Carving Contest and today’s Residential Life and Housing’s haunted house exemplify creating spooky themes and decorations on a budget.

Pumpkin carving contest

Competitors in the M.D Anderson Memorial Library’s Great Pumpkin Carving Contest yesterday decorated and carved pumpkins to win prizes for categories including pop culture, whatever, school spirit, creepy and the dean’s choice.

Judges rewarded the winners with gift baskets adorned with spider webs filled with Halloween treats and a movie.

Biology senior Mark Skillern received the award for his ‘school spirit’ pumpkin. When asked about his motivation in carving his pumpkin, Skillern said, ‘This is my final year and I’ve wanted to do this for several years. I thought it’d be cool to finally do it as a last chance event.’

In an explanation of how he carved his pumpkin, Skillern said that he used basic household items such as a paring knife, screwdriver vegetable peeler, stencils and a hobby knife. It took approximately six hours to craft his masterpiece.

‘My forearm really hurt after awhile,’ he said with a laugh.

Pumpkins on porches are staples in the ambiance of Halloween.

To make a feisty jack-o- lantern, cut the top of a pumpkin and clean it out to create a bowl. To slow down the molding process, line the interior with petroleum jelly – pumpkin bowls exposed to the air and jack-o-lanterns benefit from this well. The bowl can be used to hold soups, candies and even flowers.

Spooky decor on the dime

Tinted lighting can give off a spooky flair, especially at night. Colored light bulbs or covering up light fixtures such as lampshades can give a room an eerie feel. Use dark sheets over the windows or in front of light sources to dim the illumination.

A great last minute and low maintenance decor trick is to use paper cutouts to make spiders, webs, and ghosts. Hang a cutout in a window and let the light shine past for a silhouette effect.

Come to the haunted house in the Quadrangle at 9:30 p.m. today for a good example of an economical form of creepy decor. Bring a nonperishable food item, canned good or some toiletries for entry.

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