Halloween is a time to get spooky, but for pumpkin carvers, it’s also a time to get crafty.
Vancouver Canucks fan Bruce Ng uses the Halloween season to celebrate his favourite hockey team with his pumpkin creations. He’s been carving Canucks players and logos into pumpkins for years now, with this year’s edition a nod to the team’s various anniversary logos in their 50-year history.
It’s capped off with “This is the year” emblazoned along the bottom.
“This is the Canuck’s 51st year,” said Ng in a conversation via Twitter DMs, “so ‘This is the year’ is equal parts blind hope and tongue in cheek.”
THIS IS THE YEAR #Canucks fans. We have nothing if we don't have hope. #HappyHalloween pic.twitter.com/ujQLNdGIJO— Bruce Ng (@transcendwebs) October 30, 2020
Ng’s pumpkin is impressive in its precision, particularly in the fine lines of the Canucks’ flying skate logo for the 20th’s anniversary and the tiny orca in the middle of the 30th anniversary logo. The attention to detail is also on point: the phrase, “This is the year,” is in the same font as the “Vancouver” wordmark over the main Canucks logo.
In order to get that level of detail, Ng surprisingly doesn’t use any fancy tools.
“I got started with just a basic kit,” he said. “I still use those basic tools. Cheap finger saw from the dollar store, the whole bit.”
He also uses screwdrivers to chisel away at the pumpkins husk. For the details, he uses small precision screwdrivers, like those used for repairing eyeglasses or electronics. That helps him get the finer lines on some of his designs.
For those hoping to follow in Ng’s pumpkin-carving footsteps, take heart in the fact that he has no formal artistic training or background. He joked that he’s really a one-trick pony, or perhaps two tricks, since his gingerbread houses are also out-of-this-world (his take on the Stewart Farmhouse is a must-see as is his gingerbread version of Gastown’s Hotel Europe).
“A friend that really loves Halloween got me going with some simple templates,” said Ng. “And I kinda just kept going with it every year since, just trying new things.”
For those looking to expand their pumpkin carving repertoire beyond spooky faces, Ng recommends starting simple.
“Do not start overly complicated — so frustrating!” he said. “Honestly those dollar store kits, I would take one of those designs, say, a haunted house, then I'd add some cutouts of bats flying around. Then progress to shaving off the husk to provide diffuse light. Then to different degrees of depth for shading.”
Ng’s previous Canucks pumpkins have included portraits of Ryan Miller and Elias Pettersson, a take on the Brown-to-Bure goal, and more Canucks logos and slogans. It doesn’t get much better, however, than the perfectly-coiffed flow and piercing eyes of his Brock Boeser portrait from a few years ago.
In the spirit of #Brocktober, I'm thinking about pumpkin ideas for this season. #Canucks pic.twitter.com/N6GvsnffDj— Bruce Ng (@transcendwebs) October 18, 2018
Or perhaps it does get better. He’s already carved another pumpkin this year: a tribute to Dr. Bonnie Henry, who has been guiding BC through the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s an impressive likeness.
It's our every day hero, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Be kind, be calm, and be safe. Happy #Halloween everyone. pic.twitter.com/ezHau5soht— Bruce Ng (@transcendwebs) October 30, 2020
Unsurprisingly, Ng’s pumpkins are a hit in his neighbourhood with both kids and their parents.
“We usually track how many trick or treaters we get. One year I also tallied how many compliments I got on the pumpkins,” he said. “My wife thought that was a little much!”