The tiniest of tykes at Pumpkinville on Saturday plastered their pumpkins with paint so thick it might not dry until Halloween is over.
But others, more careful with their craft, made a concerted effort to bring their gourds to life.
“It's got a green nose so it looks like it's sick,” explained Alisabeth Covey, 9, as she worked to glue a spider made of pipe cleaners to the head of her happy pumpkin masterpiece.
About the size of a basketball, it had blue eyes, a pink mouth, and several shiny jewels spotting its face. A mop of leaves made a pony tail on the pumpkin's stem.
“I looked around at people's because at first I didn't have an idea, but I saw some people doing smiley faces so I thought I would do that,” she said. “I'm inspired by my art teacher — she says you have to color all the peek-a-boos; if you color the sky, even the small parts that are white you have to color them in,” Alisabeth said.
Preston Covey said he brought Alisabeth from Moore to downtown Oklahoma City for a father-daughter Saturday in what attendees deemed was perfect pumpkin-painting weather.
Covey said he and Alisabeth checked out spiders and other creepy critters in the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory earlier that morning.
“It's good for both of us, and the Botanical Gardens were cool,” he said. “It's adult entertainment, but also something fun for the kids, too.”
On the sidewalk around the corner, David Holland, a self-proclaimed master pumpkin carver, taught older kids and adults how to create more intricate carving designs for their pumpkins, including Frankenstein and Rumble, the Oklahoma City Thunder mascot.
“Patience, that's the trick,” he explained as Sierra Berry, 15, of Lawton, labored over her carving project. “And let the saw do the work for you, that's the other.”
But for the 300-plus adults and kids who had showed by noon Saturday, pumpkin painting was the hot attraction.
“Now what color's missing from the table?” Kaitlyn Zabrocki, 4, asked her mom, Amanda, after finishing an initial layer of yellow and white at the painting booth.
The Edmond girl glanced at the tubes of primary colors on the table before her.
“Orange?” her mom replied.
“Oh you're right! Orange is missing! How do you make that?” Kaitlyn said.
“It's yellow and red,” the mom said, and started a paint mixture for her daughter in an empty cup. “See, we mix these together and now we're going to have orange paint.”
Mission presumably accomplished, Kaitlyn glanced back at her paint choices on the table: “OK, now what color is missing? Red!”
Mom: “We don't have red because we just mixed it with yellow, Kaitlyn.”
Kaitlyn: “Well, now we need to make red!”
Next to the Zabrockis, Braylon Page, 6, of Moore, glued the last of three plastic eyes onto his “vampire” pumpkin.
Complete with fangs, Page's pumpkin would be a true bloodsucker, he said.
“I'm going to name it Bunnicula,” he said. “And I'm going to put it on my table in my room.”
Bill Little, a retired Air Force colonel from Oklahoma City, did his best all morning to keep the young painters in line.
A volunteer at the botanical gardens, Little, 82, said he usually works as a tour guide. Playing with kids and families in the sunshine, he said, was a nice change of pace.
“I love just seeing all the kids have a good time, but they're like herding cats,” he said. “They don't herd very well, and kids don't either. They kind of go their own way.”
Little, who raised three sons and now boasts four grandchildren, said activities such as Pumpkinville are what make a family — and a community — great.
“You keep them busy, that's the secret to good kids — you keep them busy,” he said.
Pumpkinville takes place every day between now and Oct. 31 at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, 301 W Reno. In addition to pumpkin decorating and other crafts, the setup includes a hay maze, a “corn toss” game, chomping for apples and story times scheduled throughout the day. Upcoming highlights include “Make-A-Scarecrow Sunday” from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday and a Pumpkinville Halloween Party for children from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 27.
For more information, call 297-1528.