Pumpkin Decorating Contest Encourages Teamwork, Creativity


Mr. Crisafi

Ms. Latimer’s group won the sixth-grade competition with a very impressive rendition of Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series.

This Halloween season, advisories were hard at work rushing to finish up their pumpkins by the October 29 deadline in their efforts to win the annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Students painted, glued, and decked out their pumpkins to put them up for display in the quad. Unlike the common practice of carving jack-o’-lanterns, the middle school competition prevents students from cutting, puncturing, or carving the pumpkins at all. 

Along with being a fun, creative endeavor, the contest also encourages students to work together. 

“I think the best part of this activity is that we are all working together and it is teaching us teamwork,” said seventh grader Matti Simonet, a member of Mr. Toby Harbeck’s advisory. His group took this year’s theme, movies, quite literally.

“Since the theme is movies, we made [the pumpkin] an overflowing popcorn box using the stem of the pumpkin to attach the overflowing popcorn,” he said. 

Part of the fun was coming up with an idea upon which the entire advisory could agree.

Mrs. Dumont’s advisory created Mike Wazowski from the movie “Monsters, Inc.” (Mr. Crisafi)

“We voted on movies to use for our pumpkin,” said Spanish and history teacher Mrs. Andrea Dumont. “We came up with a lengthy list and then each person in our advisory was able to get rid of one of the options. Once we were down to two options, we voted on the one we wanted to use, which was Monster’s Inc. Then, we discussed which character we wanted to make, and we pretty much unanimously chose Mike Wazowski,” said Dumont.

Matti’s advisory’s efforts paid off as he and his fellow students took first place for seventh grade. Although Dumont’s and Simonet’s group didn’t win, and neither did Dumont’s, but she and her students still had a good time participating in the process.

“It was fun and creative,” said Dumont.  “At most schools that I’ve worked in, we were given the opportunity to dress up in costumes for the day. I’ve never had the chance to do the pumpkin decorating before,” she said.

The contest is a great team-building activity that alloweds each member of the advisory groups to pitch in. 

We divided up the supplies by student,” said eighth-grade advisor and World Language Department Chair Mrs. Marci York.“One student brought in the pumpkin, another student brought in different colors of paint, one student bought some fun masks off the Internet, [and] one student created the sign that we used to display the pumpkin,” she said. “We all pitched in to help make our pumpkin a winner,” said York, whose students created a wonderfully detailed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle they affectionately named “Yorkatello” in honor of Mrs. York.

“It was important that everyone was involved and helped with painting and decorating,” said Dumont, who faced some roadblocks along the way..

“The most challenging part of the pumpkin was getting our decorations to stick to the pumpkin,” she said Dumont. “We used a lot of tape. I got the supplies to decorate the pumpkin at Michael’s, and the pumpkin was provided by one of my students in my advisory.”

All pumpkins were due for display in the quad by noon on October 29, and New Student Services Counselor Mrs. Kari Rankine announced the winners via email later that afternoon. As the organizer of this year’s contest, she admitted that the “esteemed judges ([Head of School] Mr. Faus, [Middle School Executive Assistant] Mrs. Lokitus, and [Director of Admission] Mrs. Primm) had a very difficult time deciding on the winners.” However, they did manage to pick the best in each grade level, and here are the ones they chose: 

Mrs. Devine’s students won the eighth-grade competition by turning their pumpkin into Linguini and Remy from “Ratatouille.” (Mr. Crisafi)

8th Grade

1st Place: Ratatouille – Mrs. Devine

Runners-Up: E.T. – Mrs. Schnurr; Pennywise – Mr. Cavallo

7th Grade

1st Place: The “Reel” Reason to Go to the Movies – Mrs. Oster

Runners-Up: Nightmare Before Christmas – Mr. Hagy/Mr. Keller; The Golden Snitch – Mrs. Barker/Mr. Bayless

6th Grade

1st Place: Jack Sparrow – Ms. Latimer

Runners-Up: Angry Bird – Mr. Crisafi; Bob the Minion – Mrs. Ferguson