Over the weekend, I got together with friends — via Discord — and carved pumpkins. Each October, I always seem to forget how messy and hard pumpkin carving is; typically, I end up giving up halfway through. This year, I persisted, and actually carved my favorite ghost-type Pokémon into a massive, massive pumpkin. I immediately put it outside so that my neighbors could admire my handiwork.
The next morning, I opened the front door and saw a large squirrel hobbling away from my pumpkin. The Pokémon had been decimated — almost unrecognizable. (The squirrels also ate nearly all the teeth out of my partner’s pumpkin, too.)
Mourning the destruction of my pumpkins, I loaded up A Short Hike developer Adam Robinson-Yu’s Mayor Bones Proudly Presents Ghost Town’s 999th Annual Pumpkin Festival, a pumpkin carving simulation game that he released on Wednesday. I planned to test it out by re-creating the pumpkins we carved over the weekend, but I ended up staying much, much longer. Robinson-Yu’s pumpkin carving tool and pumpkin festival is an absolute delight.
The game is available on Linux, Mac, and Windows PC via itch.io, where it’s offered with a name-your-own-price option. There are two locations, essentially. First is the pumpkin carving station, where you’re able to use two separate tools — a scraper and a knife — to create pumpkin masterpieces. There are a variety of different pumpkin types and colors to choose from, too. Once your pumpkin is finished, you can pop over to the pumpkin festival, which is where other real-life users have already displayed their pumpkins. You can place yours, too.
At the festival, you can change lighting — daytime or nighttime — and check out pumpkin creations that were placed by users. Other festival goers hover around in real time with you, all represented on screen as cute white-sheet ghosts.
There are so many fantastic creations at the festival already, and the grounds are just teeming with pumpkins. It feels magical to wander around the yard with strangers. I bobbed and weaved around the screen, trying to communicate with the other player I was wandering with: Come this way! I want to show you my pumpkin.
You’re allowed to place three pumpkins on the server, but can replace old ones if you want. Robinson-Yu said on the pumpkin carver itch.io page that the online festival area will only remain online for “a limited time” — probably until a few weeks after Halloween. However long this game remains up, it’s one you’re going to want to check out. Just like Robinson-Yu’s A Short Hike before it, it’s a true, simple delight.