Most of the competitions can be played at any time or in any order. Our pumpkin carving contest happens right before Halloween, and we use the pumpkins submitted to decorate for our teacher/parent meeting in the fall of the year.
This contest can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. My rules were very simple: Carve one pumpkin and place a candle in it. No other markings or props could be used around the pumpkin. Other schools in our district have used this competition and have allowed a table full of props and lighting around the pumpkin.
When considering judges for the contest, think of people in the school or organization that may not participate but would be fun to include. Also consider judges from outside the school or organization. In the past we have used some of our special needs students, administrators from central office and our food service workers.
We had no judging criteria other than for the judges to rank the pumpkins in order of favorite to least favorite. The judge’s favorite pumpkin received 4 points and their least favorite receives 1 point. We generally had at least five judges, and we added the scores of the five judges together to determine the winner, the first runner-up, and so on. Pumpkins are presented to the judges anonymously so that competitors know their work is being judged fairly.