Pumpkin Carving and Chili Night 2011

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Traditions are great. Especially when you create them yourself. Several years ago, we decided to start hosting a pumpkin carving night for Halloween. The event evolved, but it stuck. Year after year, friends look forward to outdoing each other with their carving skills, and eating my delicious chili.

This October, due to our travels, we were going to skip this tradition. But, there was an uproar. To calm the masses, we opted for a tamer, quieter evening. We flew in that morning, and hours later were hosting, in pajamas, but still hosting.

I cooked the chili before our trip and froze it.  That evening, all I had to do was warm it up and serve it. The friends brought their pumpkins, carving tools, and lots of beer. As always, I used my impeccable judgment skills to declare the 2011 Pumpkin Carving Champ.
The reigning champ from years past and his adorable baby. One lesson we learned this year -- fatherhood equals second place. Ouch! Apparently, there are other benefits. 
First place pumpkin in its initial stages. I was skeptical.
The "other" pumpkins. 
Baby lounging time.
Chili goodness. It gave me strength and clarity to judge the pumpkins.
NASA inspired Rocket Launch takes first place. Creepy Stalker Clown (with flashing nose) came in a close second. 
The Dark Owl and a pumpkin whose title I would rather not mention here. Good luck figuring that one out.
And another close up of the winner! Check out 2009 (with chili recipe) and 2010 posts for comparisons.

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