Trick or geek

By Phil Plait | October 31, 2007 7:13 pm

How hard do I rock tonight on Halloween?

How hard? Oh, yes, very hard indeed. Here is the pumpkin I carved:


Mrs. BA and The Little Astronomer did pretty well too, I think:


Man, I love this holiday!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, Humor, Pretty pictures

Comments (35)

  1. Cameron

    You need to hook that up to a little audio player of some sort so it’ll say EXTERMINATE!!! every five minutes or so.

  2. Dan

    Ooo… Very nice. Dalek Sec from the Cult of Skaro and Commander of the Seventh Incursion.

    You’ve honored him well. But, you still must be exterminated.

  3. I love the dalek pumpkin! That is uber-cool!

    At least to a fellow nerd.

    And it would be great if you could hook it up to the audio player Cameron suggested, maybe with a motion sensor to scare the crap out of the little kids.

  4. Damon B.


  5. Actually, I think the scariest part of this photo sequence is the ad for “The Virginia Quilter” following the Jack O’ Lantern pics…

    (Ms. BA and Little’s project rocks.)

  6. John

    I don’t get it – why would getting hit in the head…. er, pumpkin with an axe make you barf? Was the pumpkin drunk first?

  7. Dan

    I think once you get hit in the head with an axe, John, all bets are off, and pretty much anything can happen.

  8. Yeah, that’s right. This one time, I got hit in the head with an axe, and I saw God. I swear. Oh, I puked that time, too.

  9. Kevin Conod

    Hey if I had an axe forced into my brain cavity I’d probably blow chunks too! :-)

    PS Happy Cross Quarter Day!

  10. Richard B. Drumm

    How did your Halloween outreach go? I showed Comet Holmes to about 30 or 40 kids and a couple dozen adults. I gave out Milky Way bars too! Got a couple chuckles about that…

    Unfortunately I couldn’t get permission to set up the scope in the busiest neighborhood in the subdivision. The man I talked to thought having me set up a telescope would be too dangerous. I didn’t press him how he thought it would work, I didn’t want him to think that I was argumenative. The lady I talked to wouldn’t say anything but “I don’t think so” while she held the collar of a growling dog.

    So I had to resort to a neighborhood that was a little off the beaten track, (the family’s daughter is a friend of my daughter) and had fewer “customers” at the eyepiece.

  11. Sigh. I didn’t take the ‘scope out at all. My back got hurt today chasing after one of our dogs, and then TLA decided she wanted to trick or treat with a friend who lives 10 km away, so Mrs,. BA wasn’t here to help me haul it out. All for the best, I guess: we had maybe 15 kids total. Weird.

  12. Wonderful Dalek! Fellow Whovian geek here.

    Our pumpkins got smashed. Not happy.

  13. Brian G

    I think Mrs. BA and The Little Astronomer have a couple issues to work out. Why can’t they make a nice pirate fish or something?

  14. Supernova

    Oh Phil, you’re such a dork. :)

    I love the axe-murdered pumpkin. Reminds me of the hilarious snowmen Calvin used to build in the comic strip.

  15. John,anytime your brain is connected to the rest of you,and it becomes deprived of oxygen,you will puke.

  16. Mark Schindler

    That’s the worst “Face of Boe” ever…
    Oh, it’s a Dalek.
    Well, that’s different. Never mind.

  17. Moose

    All three pumpkins are wicked-cool. But, ah, BA, how did you suspend the Dalek in midair like that? (I know Daleks hover now, but still…)

    Is it that you hollowed out the pumpkin but left the skin for the orange part?

  18. Mena

    Supernova, this one reminded me of Calvin & Hobbes:
    There are a lot of fun ones at that site. Some people really have a lot of imagination!

  19. Nadia

    Awesome job!

    I wish we had more of a Halloween culture down here in Australia. I saw a group of people walking down the street in costumes, looking very out-of-place, but it was just so cool to see them celebrate in their own way.

  20. Those pumpkins rocked. You’ve just gone up in my “geek-o-meter.”

    We couldn’t take our binoculars out because it was raining and cloudy. Ah, well.

  21. Ken B

    I remember one snowman that Calvin started to make. He and Hobbes rolled a huge snowball, taller than himself. Then, out of breath, Calvin says something along the lines of “okay, there’s the first toe”.

    For our Jack-o-Lanterns:

  22. Cleon, that’s AWESOME. I hadn’t thought about making an actual Dalek.

    The technique isn’t that hard in principle. I drew myself a Dalek on paper, then taped it to the pumpkin. I used an Exacto knife very lightly to cut the outline, making sure I left space for the guns and the eye. I also cut an outline of the square frame. I removed all the rind from the areas you see as being light-colored, and left it where it’s dark. You can scrape away a little bit to leave the light area a bit darker, or you can scrape deeper to make it brighter.

    The pumpkin was kindof thick, so I reached inside with a wooden spoon and thinned the whole panel from behind, which helped.

    Then I cut the flame from the gun and the illuminated part of the eyestalk all the way through the rind and pulp to make sure it was brighter than the rest.

    I got some of these ideas from examining other pumpkins online. It wasn’t hard to figure out. I’d never done anything this complicated before, and it took about an hour.

  23. alfaniner

    Have you heard “Doctoring the Tardis” by KLF and the Timelords? Seems like it would be a great one for a Halloween soundtrack. It’s a combination of the Dr. Who theme and Rock & Roll Part II (I think — maybe it’s called “Hey”).

  24. Christine Pulliam

    Wow, Phil, that’s awesome! I bow to the master. :-)

  25. Rose



  26. Adrian Zaharia

    Exterminate! Exteeeeer–min–aaaate!

  27. StevoR


    Great job BA, Mrs BA & the Lil’ BA … GRE-AAATE JOB! ūüėČ

    I took the vomit for vomiting blood .. a crook Jack-o’-Lantern with ebola euthanasied maybe?

    Death apparently causes all sorts of unpleasant things toccur vomiting and much worse. Lets just say various sphinceters losen with ceasation of life – apparently execution by hanging (perhaps with gravity FXts ) gets really messy in a very smelly way.

    & electric chair executions cause the ccondemned’s eyes to boil in the sockets & flames to come out their heads.

    Not that anybody wanted to know but ..well someone asked didn’t they?

    For tehrecord too : Isupport teh proper use ofthedeath penalty to be applied tothemost heinous of crimes and criminals when there is no doubt eg. Martin Bryant (POrt Arthur Aussie serial-murderer), mass-murderers, the nastiest rapists, all paedophiles, aggravated murderers, Osama bin Lafden & .. George Bush & his fellow war-criminal neocon-fascists.

  28. StevoR

    CORRECTED form above :

    For the record too : I support the proper use of the death penalty to be applied to the most heinous of crimes and worst of criminals and when there is no doubt.

    For example all the following, I believe deserve the death penalty :

    * Martin Bryant ( Aussie serial-murderer of 35 people at Port Arthur)
    * Mass-murderers & aggravated murderers generally
    * The nastiest rapists, all paedophiles,
    * Osama bin Laden & other Al Quaida terrorists responsible for mass murder atrocities incl. the atatcks of 2001 Sept. 11th.
    *Saddam Hussein for murdereeing somany of his own people -and other tyrants such as Zimbabawe’s Robert Mugabe & the Chinese Communists.
    * George Bush & his fellow war-criminal neocon-fascists for their illegal and murderous invasion of a nation that posed them no harm on false pretences with tens if not hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths.

    Nowe to another traditional holiday y’may not have in Yankland : Guy Fawkes day :

    “Remember, remember the 5th of November,
    Gunpowder, treason & plot!”

    & the only Guy (quite literally!) ever to enter parlt. with honest intentions! (ie. blowing the place up!) ūüėČ


    Note : Yes that’s a joke for the humour challnged. No, tempting as it may sometimes seem, I don’t think violence is the answer to any of our political problems.

  29. Christa

    Putting a recording of “Exterminate!!” along with the pumpkin would be awesome – sounds like the kind of thing my friends and I would try – they have some short clips from the series on the BBC website – which my friends and I found after watching “The Empty Child” and “The Doctor Dances” and decided it would be fun to use the clip of “Are you my mummy?” to call our friend (she was really freaked out, and we are still using that line to creep her out, more than a month later, much to her chagrin) – great fun when you run out of things to do that don’t include going out and getting drunk at frat parties.

  30. Thanks for a great idea! Since I first saw the puking pumpkin that I wanted to try it, and it’s finally done!


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