Prodigious Pepos

Seabury’s annual pumpkin contest was a smashing squash-cess


Campbell Helling, Copy

Early last week, dozens of pumpkins magically appeared on the Commons stage. One by one, advisings plucked them away and began to mercilessly contrive their plans–total annihilation of every other advising–for the upcoming pumpkin contest. Like any competition, friendships crumbled. Blood, sweat and tears were shed, and the essence-of-pumpkin smell ravaged the hallways for days. Finally, after a week of sleepless nights, pumpkin guts and panic, each advising procured a masterpiece fit for the Louvre. 

Faculty member Don Schawang crafted a zombie-Rapunzel mix for the fateful contest. After brainstorming, “The two strongest ideas were Rapunzel, and the other one was zombies, and with some work [my advisees] married the two together,” he says with a laugh. Regarding the overall theme for his group’s pumpkins, Schawang says, “Horror with a touch of comedy.” Before it was taken down, viewers certainly found the advising’s creation this year to be humorous, considering it was a bloody Disney Princess locked in a pumpkin tower. 

For Schawang, the planning phase was quite smooth. “Everyone jumped in and had great ideas; you see the result of that, and I was pleased. I know we didn’t place, but it was fun. For me, the important thing was the advisees had fun and are proud of themselves,” he says.

Faculty member Don Meier also appreciates the pumpkin contest because of collaboration. “I try to steer them more towards things that will involve a larger group, will involve everyone, so that they try to be a little more inclusive.” For example, he tries to steer clear of the horror theme. “I think the gorey ones tend to exclude people because not everyone wants to do that.” 

Unlike Meier, eleventh grader Sofia Gonzalez’s advising (faculty member Eric Nelson’s) certainly embraces a gorey vibe. “In the past, we’ve done gruesome or scary, but this year we have a more creative idea,” she says. These gruesome creations have featured a fetal pig according to common legend. “We’re pretty competitive, but when it comes to the pumpkins we just throw it together. They’re always pretty good, but not to everyone else,” says Gonzalez. This year, Nelson’s pumpkin featured a bloody dartboard, two turkeys guarding it and a wolf overlooking the scene.

Last year’s Pumpkin Champions, the Rios advising, had high hopes for this year beforehand. “We definitely feel like we need to hold ourselves higher now that we’re the defending champions. We have high expectations,” says ninth grader Josie Kim. Despite no awards, their pumpkin looked impressive, featuring pumpkin eyes. Surprisingly, Kim says that “originally, the size was going to be a lot bigger, but . . . we tried to make it less time-consuming, so we made it a bit smaller.” When asked about what the pumpkin contest contributes to the school, Kim says, “Pumpkins and this entire contest unify the community because all of us want to win, obviously, all of us are using our own creative juices to pool together on Halloween day . . . overall, it’s just a great experience and a great place to be.”

Seventh-grader Ka’Neisha Price agrees with Kim that the contest is a positive aspect of the community. “I feel like it’s competitive, and it’s fun . . . you get to try new things with a bunch of people you might not know as well, so I think it’s good,” she says. Regarding her advising’s pumpkin, Price says, “We were just thinking that we couldn’t make it good so we decided to make it big.” The at least four-foot creation was undoubtedly big, depicting Emily from “Corpse Bride.”

The pumpkins this year, regardless of placing, were certainly impressive. As Seabury heals from the emotional distress, warzones and rotting gourds, one must admit it is all worth it.