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Pumpkins take on a new face at Poulsbo Elementary School

POULSBO — The spirit of Halloween haunted Poulsbo Elementary early last week as 212 differently decorated pumpkins lined the school’s front halls.

Librarian and co-organizer Nancy Bale said it was “the most we’ve ever had.”

The high turnout might have had something to do with the uniqueness of the competition. Students faced off for the chance to be zapped into the pumpkin which they had created; not in “Cinderella” fashion, but courtesy of a computerized DVD put together by co-organizer Karen Overturf.

Classes were judged in terms of the percent of participating students. This is the first year the school has put on the competition since 2001, Bale said, and the organizers were amazed at how many students entered into the contest.

“It’s a family project,” said Overturf, noting that many kids designed and created their pumpkin with the help of a parent. “It’s been fun to see the parents come in and take pictures to get ideas for next Halloween.”

Students were somewhat guided toward making the pumpkins into their favorite story book character, and extreme diversity resulted. From Wilbur of “Charlotte’s Web” to Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz,” even Santa Clause and mini-pumpkin reindeer appeared in gourd form.

“Trying to get the kids to class has been unreal,” Overturf said. The students have been admiring pumpkins on their way from class to class throughout the week.

The deadline for contest entries was Wednesday and the results were tallied that morning. Overturf and Bale had estimated that three tables would be sufficient space, but by Wednesday morning they needed five more.

Cindy Abbey’s sixth grade class won the contest with 100 percent participation, including Abbey herself.

“I use about three different types of software,” Overturf explained. “We take the pictures, then bring them into the computer, then bring them into the morphing program and match their picture to their pumpkin.”

She then links each file together into one continuous movie with a scary sound track.

“It’s a project to remember,” Bale said as she watched the DVD from 2001.

When Overturf and Bale announced the victory to Abbey’s class, pencils and hands flew through the air, excitement radiated from each face. The class agreed that a well-drawn Bugs Bunny, equipped with ears and all, was the best of the bunch.

Overturf said the event is one of a line of recent successes including a book fair that raised nearly $10,000, and a Hurricane Katrina fund-raiser that tallied more than $3,000.

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