Woodward, Okla. —
Woodward Public Library is looking for the next Picasso of Pumpkins, Salvador Dali of Squash, or even Vincent van Gogh of Gourds.
The library is asking patrons to show off their creative skills in celebration of the fall season by participating in its 11th annual Family Pumpkin Decorating Contest.
Librarian Cindy Colclasure said the library sponsors the contest because "it encourages the arts as the children and adults all get to utilize their artistic and creative skills to create their pumpkin characters."
In addition, Colclasure said the contest allows patrons to have a more interactive experience with their local library.
"It's entertaining for our older patrons and the little children always find it fascinating," she said, adding "not only do our patrons get to look over all the different entries, but they can become involved themselves and cast a vote for their favorite."
The contest is open to children and adults, with families encouraged to create designs together.
"It's fall and the weather is starting to cool down so that families are spending more time indoors. And this contest is a great opportunity for families to find something tangible to do together inside," Colclasure said.
The contest is free to enter, but decorated pumpkins must be submitted before the library closes at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.
"The contest rules are still the same as always," Colclasure said. "You must decorate the pumpkins but don't cut holes or carve them."
Participants can use anything from paint, markers, hats, scarves, glasses, wigs, fake eyeballs, or anything they can imagine to help bring their pumpkin characters to life, she said.
The pumpkin entries will be judged on originality; creative use of inexpensive and recycled materials; quality of work, in particular based on the entrant's age; suitability of name given to character; and sustainability.
"Sustainability is important because we don't want the pumpkin to fall apart before the end of the contest; that's why we stress no carving," Colclasure said.
Originality is another big criteria, she said.
"It's always fun to see what people come up with," she said. "And we have a high expectation from year to year to see who can create a character we've never seen before."
Colclasure said that participants are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild. She said the use of certain special effects, such as lights or a small smoke machine, would even be allowed if someone was enthusiastic enough to come up with a design incorporating those effects.
"I think it would be wonderful if someone got energetic and brought something through the door we've never seen before like that. I think our other patrons would love it," she said.
If someone does utilize special effects, Colclasure said "we'll do our best to accommodate them." For example, if they needed electricity for lights, library staff would try to place their entry closer to an outlet.
A panel of judges will select a first place winner out of entries submitted in 4 age categories: preschool, 3- to 7-years-old; kids, 8- to 12-years-old; teens 13- to 17-years-old; and adults, 18-years-old and over.
"Every year we have very generous gift baskets filled with movies, an assortment of candy, movie tickets and other goodies that we give to the first place winners," Colclasure said.
In addition, she said the public and library patrons will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite designs through October 30. The design that receives the most votes will win the "Best Overall" title.
"The Best Overall will win a Kindle Fire," Colclasure said.
For more information about the contest or questions, contact the library at 254-8544.