Naturally Dreamy

A blog about my life as an INFP living with an ESFJ, INTJ, and my pup. I blog about earth-friendly living and life through my eyes – not necessarily in that order. Come put your feet up where life is Naturally Dreamy!

Totoro O’Lantern


It’d been too long since I’d observed a Jack O’Lantern on my front porch.

When I was really young, it had pretty much been an every year thing. Go to the pumpkin places, pick a pumpkin, carve said pumpkin. I really enjoyed it – though I never actually did much in this process. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then I started thinking about the waste, we moved to areas where Halloween wasn’t aย deal at all ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And it slowly became that years had gone by since we had a proper Jack o’Lantern. “Think of the waste and the meals passed up.” Said my brain.

Yeah, but think of the joy!? — my head answered back. Yeah, let’s make a Jack o’Lantern.

What prompted me was Rhett and Link. Opening up Good Mythical Morning and seeing their welcoming pumpkin.

What sealed the deal was ThinkGeek’s Pumpkin Template contest. Perusing the finalists, I saw so many I liked, but I knew I wanted to carve one, when I saw this.

TotoroAndFriends — JessicaTheNiftyNerd.pdf

Photo on 10-30-14 at 7.03 PM #2

My cut out template.

I thought this was awesome. It would be an incredible pumpkin!! I just needed a tallish pumpkin, and we could pull it off, right?

Well, I needed to go food shopping, and I thought this would be the time to pick up a pumpkin if I really wanted to do this.

I had to put some stuff back, but I saved $6 to pick a pumpkin with. How much do pumpkins run this day and age? I had no clue.

BT said that the most probable place for affordable last-minute pumpkins would probably be his church’s patch. He helped me find a tall pumpkin for Totoro. We were unsure we could do something so complicated, but we got a tall pumpkin, anyway.

We picked 2 pumpkins in between their $4 size and their $7, hoping that one of them would be $6. They said, $14 for both, but when we came up short, they said “What’d we have”, and “That’d be fine!”, and we decided to take the smaller of the pumpkins and they got $6.45. I was so happy.

I told BT of my idea, and he said what I had been thinking – Can we really get any precision work done, with none of the proper pumpkin carving tools? ๐Ÿ™‚

Photo on 10-30-14 at 7.18 PM #2

I assured him that I didn’t care if it came out horribly, it would still be a Jack o’Lantern, and that would be cool. You know, at least we gave it a shot.

But I had yet to figure out what the template was displaying. How is Totoro visible? Then I figured it out, and subsequent YouTube videos gave me a definitive answer — I had to cut out windows around the big Totoro!!… that is how he became visible.

While BT took a nap, Rimfire and I worked on getting the template and pumpkin ready. It was really starting to feel like a family affair!

BT also gave me lead. “Hey, it’s your pumpkin, and you’re the one who wanted to do it. But I’d be glad to help!!!”

Photo on 10-30-14 at 7.19 PM

This was much appreciated, as I usually have (near) last word on projects.

BT found an X-Acto knife set and that was essential. We had been going toย just to use kitchen knives. Because we had them.

I gave an idea, BT gave an idea. And between us we got the pumpkin carved.

Well, actually BT pretty much carved all of it.

“You don’t resent that you are doing all the carving when it was my idea, do you?” I said after he had been carving for a while. “Not at all.” He replied. I guess anytime he can do something precise, or something with sharp blades is great for him. And this is both!


He had the idea to not carve all the way through. “I think the shading will make it look better,” he said.

I was hesitant, but when we put the tea lights on in the pumpkin, I saw it. It did look good.

“I thought shading was a cop-out,” I said, as we had the pumpkin lit and BT was cleaning up the carved shades.

“Why?” BT asked.

“Well. I just kind of thought, ‘Of course your pumpkin looks good! You didn’t have toย carve it!'”

BT chuckled, “Shading is like the upper echelon of pumpkin carving.” I didn’t tell him he had kind of just proved my bias against it. To him, having something be the upper echelon was good. But to me it feels a little like an impossible opponent.

When BT first started shading around the little spiky guy, I was horrified at what I’d done, because I had cut the template out in easy, big spikes. But when I’d drawn it on the pumpkin, I thought, “Eh, we get the idea” and just drew a general zig-zag line that was very complicated. It was just like how I’d usually indicate something fluffy when drawing… I didn’t think it would be carved that way.

“But you did a good job,” BT said. “He looks fluffy that way. And it is easier to follow the lines. Then I can see where I cut before.”

I was later glad I had done that, because BT was super proud of how the little spiked guy’s spikes came out clearly.


We had such great fun doing this together.


I took pics with my actual camera for this. ๐Ÿ™‚ Although not appearing on my camera, the little guy has black eyes, that you can see by candle light!! BT’s idea to keep them. ๐Ÿ™‚

It was a great surprise that we could do it. I meanโ€ฆCome on! J All I had asked for was a re-introduction to Jack o’Lantern-dom, and we came out with an incredible, detailed, awesome Totoro o’Lantern!! Just because of a Twitter post, a Good Mythical Morning, and $6. And the Nifty Nerd’s awesome template.

And BT’s carving skills. ๐Ÿ˜‰


Did you have a Jack o’Lantern this year? What was it?

If you could make anything into a Jack o’Lantern design, what would you choose?


Author: Arctic Hare!

I write Naturally Dreamy and have a lot of fun with that!

4 thoughts on “Totoro O’Lantern

  1. This is too cute! Best pumpkins I’ve seen all year. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Yay -I’m so glad you enjoyed my pumpkin carving template! Your pumpkin came out great and I love that the entire thing is shaded. I โค Totoro too!
    Sorry ThinkGeek didn't post the carving instructions, so there was a little confusion at first (they are in the original blog post, which it looks like you may have found ๐Ÿ™‚ )


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