Pumpkin carving without the mess

First impressions

We figured as it was coming up to Halloween, we would look to see what was out there in the way of seasonal apps.

Right away we found ourselves drawn to Pumpkin Creation, perhaps because it had only been in the past two years that we had tried our hand at carving pumpkins. After covering our kitchen table in pumpkin innards and giving ourselves carpal tunnel thanks to our insistence on choosing the most complicated designs, being able to carve a pumpkin via an app seemed to make a lot of sense.

Although we were able to download it for free, the ads and limited decoration options quickly got on our nerves. We therefore decided to go absolutely mad and spend a whole $1.99 to get the full version. Once that was sorted we began to scour the numerous eye, nose, mouth and accessory choices so we could create an awesome pumpkin of which we could be proud.

How it works

Once you download the full version (recommended) you are greeted with a default pumpkin and background. Along the bottom is a strip of options, starting with a pumpkin window.

Click on it, and above the strip will appear another with a slew of pumpkin shapes and colours that go way outside mother nature’s palette. You can choose a fat purple one or a skinny light green one. Blue, plump, pink, slender … they are all here and more.

Once you settle on the pumpkin of your choice, you can move on to the speckling, or just add a honking great pink lightning bolt. Next come the eyes. The left and right eye designs are separate options, so you can either pair them up to look similar, or make them completely different.

The noses run the gamut from standard triangles to little holes and beyond, and the mouths are smiling, frowning, wonky or in serious need of a good dentist. If you don’t like one combination, go back and change the elements until you’re happy with your punkin.

Once it’s “carved” you can start adding fun stuff like a hat, horns, wings, a pointy tail, sunglasses, a moustache, a necklace … it’s like Mr. Potato Head run amok. There are more than 50 accessories. By the time you’re finished, that pumpkin won’t have a scrap of dignity left.

Your masterpiece will just need a couple more adjustments to make it pop. A selection of candles offer different coloured glows, and then you can go with your favourite background. The final step is to click the camera option to add your pumpkin to the built-in album.

When we played

We decided to go with a slender light green pumpkin. We figured we’d go outside our comfort zone a bit, rather than picking your classic round orange version. We’re embarrassed to admit that at the beginning we didn’t realise we were to choose the left and right eyes independently of each other, and so we couldn’t understand why every different eye we chose promptly showed up on the left of our pumpkin. We were about to give up and simply say we’d chosen a one-eyed design on purpose, until we saw the right eye button.

Ohhhhh … After that it was easy to move on and we really felt our creative juices flowing as we added some speckles, went with a small nose, and a wonky mouth. As we approached the accessories shop we felt like Tim from Project Runway was at our elbow, encouraging us to be imaginative. We tried a pirate hat with devil’s horns, but it seemed like overkill; like we were trying too hard. We took the horns away, kept the hat, added a necklace and replaced our earlier wonky mouth with what looked like a set of wax lips.

Although there was the constant threat of over-accessorising hanging over our heads, we bravely continued with a pair of sunglasses and a pirate sword. As far as we were concerned, we were going big or going home.

Once we had the look we wanted, we chose a blue candle glow and the haunted house background. Satisfied that we were brilliantly artistic, we took a picture to capture our genius. We showed our friends. They wanted to try. Reset button and we were off to the races once again.

Final thoughts

Pumpkin Creation is a lot of fun. Adults will enjoy messing about with it for a while, and it’s maybe a good way to experiment with looks before trying them out on the real thing. Kids will love this app, particularly the really young ones because it’s easy to play with lots of colours.

It works on the iPhone and iPod Touch, but to truly appreciate it and have two kids collaborating easily on a design, the iPad is perfect. The music will become annoying quickly, but luckily the game allows you to mute it without adjusting your device volume.

Does not need to be connected to the Internet. Very colourful. Terrific for creative kids. Lots of design options.

Pumpkin Creation
Cost: Free ($1.99 for the full version)
Seller: Xu Ming – Libii Inc.
Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad

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