The Elvis Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Announcement of Elvis Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Did you see this announcement on a couple of weeks ago? I’m going to enter it, and maybe I’ll win the $100 prize.

2014 Elvis Pumpkin Contest Prize

Too bad I didn’t enter the first Elvis Pumpkin Contest back in 2012 when the prize was $250. Wonder why they cut it back?

 2012 Elvis Pumpkin Contest Prize


ElvisBlog usually has an Elvis/Halloween post each year, and some of them have featured pumpkins carved with his image. The first was back in 2008, so unless you dig deep into the archives, you likely haven’t seen most of these. So here is a look at the best of the Elvis Pumpkins from those posts.

Outstanding Elvis carved pumpkin

I wanted to start with this one for two reasons. First, it is just an outstanding design. And, second, it is an example of what seems to be becoming a lost art – cutting completely through the shell to make the image.


Elvis Pumpkin 2

This is equally outstanding work, but here only the outer dark shell is carved away. Light inside the pumpkin shines through the thinner yellow membrane to show off the design. Here are nine more designs using this technique.

Elvis Pumpkin 3

Elvis Pumpkin 4

Elvis Pumpkin 5

Elvis Pumpkin 6

Elvis Pumpkin 7

Elvis Pumpkin 8

Elvis Pumpkin 9

Elvis Pumpkin 10

Elvis Pumpkin 11


Here’s yet another carving technique where the design is revealed in relief by cutting away the thick pumpkin shell to different depths.

Elvis Pumpkin 12


The next design seems to be some advanced technique that involves copying an Elvis image to the pumpkin and possible even adding colors. The white on the jumpsuit just doesn’t look like something you get naturally from the pumpkin. Kind of seems like cheating.  (Editor’s note:  The “seems like cheating” reference here was in bad judgement.  I should have quit after “just doesn’t look like something you get naturally from the pumpkin,” because that is true.  This design was carved on a foam craft pumpkin bought at Michael’s Hobby Shop.  Check out the comment below from the carver, Bryan Moore, who describes the whole process and many other interesting things.  Sorry, Bryan.)

Elvis Pumpkin 13


So, we’ve seen four different techniques for Elvis pumpkin decorating. I have a fifth one that I will submit to the contest.

ElvisBlog Pumpkin Entry

It helps if you own your own personal granite Elvis bust. Wish me luck.



© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved


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5 responses to “The Elvis Pumpkin Decorating Contest

  1. Pingback: Graceland’s Elvis Pumpkin Contest Winners Announced | ElvisBlog

  2. I appreciate it. My apologies as well if I came off any way other than a bit disappointed. To be absolutely fair, you are by no means the only one who doesn’t realize there are foam pumpkins and that a lot of us carvers use them for our Halloween displays (though obviously, many still use the real thing).

    It just happened to hit a nerve since my reasons for carving it being what they were.

    I’ve enjoyed looking around your blog and have a great appreciation for Elvis and his music since I grew up listening to him because that, quite literally, was all my mother would listen to for years around the house as I was growing up.

    Thank you for your time. I do appreciate it.

    Bryan Moore

    • Bryan: This little episode has given me the idea for next year’s submission to the Graceland Elvis Pumpkin Contest. It will be on a foam craft pumpkin.

      Phil Arnold

  3. Phillip

    Your quote about the second to last photo: “The next design seems to be some advanced technique that involves copying an Elvis image to the pumpkin and possible even adding colors. The white on the jumpsuit just doesn’t look like something you get naturally from the pumpkin. Kind of seems like cheating.”

    Its too bad you didn’t try to research where this picture came from or how it was carved. But since ‘I’ am the person who carved it, I’d be happy to explain.

    It is carved on a foam craft pumpkin purchased from Michaels. I carved it using a dremel along with drill and diamond burr bits. There are NO colors added. It is lit by a single 15watt bulb that is plugged in from the back to illuminate it. The ‘white’ you describe is more of a cream color, which is actually the color of the foam underneath the painted exterior with a fairly brightly lit light bouncing off of it. The carve and second one that is cropped out of the picture took me approximately 10 hours to carve, so its not like it afforded me some huge ‘advantage’ somehow that the ‘cheating’ comment suggests. In all the years of carving foam pumpkins and putting the 70 or so I’ve carved thus far for display out in front of my house, people are shocked to find out they are made of foam, even though they are viewing them as close as 0′-6″ away.

    Is this ‘cheating’? Well, I’m not sure how you can come up with that as a statement, since at least two other pumpkins in your stack of pictures are also CARVED USING CRAFT PUMPKINS. That you didn’t either notice or can’t tell says enough right there as far as I’m concerned. Cheating also pertains to an idea that I was doing something ‘against the rules’. Since I carved this pumpkin for my mother (a lifelong Elvis fan who at the time was fighting breast cancer but has since passed away), I wanted it to last as long as possible for her to enjoy looking at verses it rotting and dying in a few days. So how this goes against any ‘rules’, I’m more than a bit confused to say the VERY least. Any ‘contest’ that I’ve entered pumpkins in, if it clearly states that the pumpkin needs to be a ‘real’ one….then it isn’t or wouldn’t be entered in said contest. If there is no mention of that, then I would submit it for said contest without the slightest concern.

    As a pumpkin carver for a number of years, I use to carve on ‘real’ pumpkins. I found that all the work I had to do in just a few days prior to Halloween, only to rot and die in again just a few days, a huge waste of time. Since I found out about craft pumpkins, I realized it allowed me to carve and then enjoy my carves year around, year after year. For that reason alone, I’ve stuck with carving on craft pumpkins, verses having to re-carve my favorite patterns again and again every year and being limited to maybe a 15 or so pumpkin display after a marathon two day carving session.

    I’d invite you to go to my website and take a look at the original photo of this carve as well as some of my others at The Elvis carve you’ve pictured is in my gallery, in the section from the 2010 season, first page, third row down, first from the left. It is shown with the second pumpkin I did with it, that both were a gift to my mother. Also, as an fyi….this was one of many pumpkins chosen for publication in rollingstone online for ‘pumpkins carved to look like rock stars’. The direct link to it is on my links page as well.

    This is the second time I’ve seen my pumpkin shown on your site. The first time was a few years ago (for the 2012 contest at least one other was also on a craft pumpkin, the 5th pic down on that page, as well as the ‘winning pumpkin’ for the 2012 carving contest). I do appreciate my carve being posted and commented on and talked about, but I must admit that seeing a comment using the word ‘cheating’ doesn’t really rate too high with me.

    I’ve always just hoped people who are Elvis fans like I’ve always been and my mother whom I initially carved it for, might get a chance to look at it and get some sort of enjoyment out of it that she did and that I still do.

    Bryan Moore/The Gourds Gone Wild

    • Bryan: I not only posted your comment, but also added an Editor’s Note to the original text. Sorry, I never knew about foam craft pumpkins. You certainly can do some amazing work on them, and if a contest doesn’t clearly state that the pumpkins need to be real, why not enter them?

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

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