TAAF Awareness Pumpkin Contest

TAAF Awareness Pumpkin Contest

TAAFy Halloween! 
We love this time of year, and pandemic or not, we aim to have fun!  Join in by raising aneurysm and AVM Awareness with your very own TAAF pumpkin. If you do, you could be handsomely rewarded in sweets.  Read details below and let's have a #TAAFyHalloween!

Still have questions? Email us at info@taafonline.org.

The LONG Version: TAAF Awareness Pumpkin Contest


Carving Your TAAF Awareness Pumpkin


These are the basic tools you'll need for the job.

(…which we thieved directly from Google, including that first sentence.  Not thieved?  This piece of advice: BEFORE carving your pumpkin, please ensure that you have an adult’s approval.)

  • A chef's knife for removing the lid.
  • A stiff metal spoon for scraping out ol' Jack's guts.
  • Tape and scissors for securing your design to the pumpkin.
  • A wooden skewer or a plastic design transfer tool for punching holes through your design into the pumpkin flesh.
  • A black Sharpie or other waterproof pen for drawing guides and sketching your design.
  • A set of pumpkin-carving knives for cutting out your design.
  • Plastic wrap and nonstick cooking spray for preserving your pumpkin when you're finished carving.

You will also need a pumpkin, printer, printer ink, paper and, lest you forget, adult approval (and preferably supervision).  Let’s get to it!


How To

  1. Pick a pumpkin. Try to pick one that is kind of heavy and can stand up on its own.  It’s also always helpful if the stem is long.  Do not lift your pumpkin by the stem, only from the bottom,
  2. Set-up your work area. Some people prefer the floor; others prefer the table.  WE prefer you didn’t make a mess, so please lay down a sheet or tarp or something that you can shake out and wash off later.
  3. Print out page three of these directions. That is the TAAF logo design and your template.
  4. Cut the lid of your jack-o-lantern. (If you’ve never done this before, please hang with that adult who gave you permission.  These aren’t those kinds of directions.)
  5. Scoop out all of your seeds and guts from the inside of the pumpkin. (Save to bake and eat later if you’re into that.  WE are SO into that!)
  6. Thin out the inside. This basically means more scraping.  You want the sides of the pumpkin to be approximately ½ inch thick.
  7. Tape down the TAAF logo to your pumpkin.
  8. Here’s another part thieved directly from Mr. Google… Using a wooden skewer or the plastic punch tool provided in your pumpkin-carving kit, transfer the photograph to the pumpkin by poking a series of close holes through the paper and directly into the flesh of the pumpkin. You should feel it punch through, and as you work.
  9. Once you’ve finished poking holes all around the image, remove the paper from the outside of the pumpkin.
  10. Us your marker to draw the outline of the design, connecting the dots.
  11. STOP! That’s right.  STOP!  We’re about to tell you to cut into the pumpkin.  Before you do, ask yourself two things:    Do I have permission to use this tool?  2.  Do I know which parts of the design to leave and which to cut out.  (If you answered no to either of these, please go find that adult again.)
  12. Using your knife or carving tools from a kit, begin cutting out the little TAAF man
  13. Then, SUPER carefully, cut out the “swoosh” (which, incidentally, is actually the brainstem… did YOU know that?)
  14. Last stolen item from the internets… Carved pumpkins have a very short shelf life. You can extend it by coating the cut surfaces in oil to slow the inevitable drying out that occurs… a can of nonstick cooking spray. Apply a light coating inside and out on all cut surfaces, and gently spread it around with a paper towel. Should your pumpkin start to dry out and shrivel before your Halloween party commences, you can plump it back up and revive the design by soaking the whole pumpkin in a bathtub or cooler full of cold water for a couple of hours. (Good advice, right?  That’s why we stole it.)
  15. STOP AGAIN! Yeah, sorry.  We’re sticklers for safety.  It’s time to put a candle inside and test it.  You can totally use a wickless, battery-operated candle.  If you’re using a real one though, go read the advice from #11 before you proceed.
  16. Last, but not least… Take a picture, your BEST picture, and then share it on FB, TW or IG.  You HAVE to tag us or we won’t see it.  (Sorry, we’re mostly volunteers remember?)  Oh, and just because we’re super cheesy… we’re kinda fond of the hashtag #TAAFyHalloween.

Two special notes:

  1. You can decorate your pumpkin however you’d like. You don’t actually have to carve, though we hope you do.
  2. Your photo will be judged by the public on 10/31. The winner will be announced live on Facebook during our Halloween TAAF Talk Café. 

The winner will receive custom TAAF items and a Family Movie Night Snack Box filled with YOUR choice of goodies.