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Fun at Public Citizen: The Great Pumpkin Carving Contest

The winning pumpkin in Public Citizen’s annual Pumpkin Carving Contest. This depicts an unsanitary, poorly regulated compounding pharmacy.

In addition to having super-smart, hard-charging and hard-working people here at Public Citizen, we have a great deal of creativity.

It goes on display every year at Halloween, when we have our magnificent Pumpkin Carving Contest (all caps for emphasis).

The event is just for us here at Public Citizen. It’s a chance for us to do something fun and different (sculpting and decorating is not really part of the “and other duties as assigned” clause of our job descriptions).

Each department receives a pumpkin and has the day to carve and decorate it. Judging occurs later in the day at a small party we have here at our Dupont Circle headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The pumpkins get more elaborate every year. Suffice it to say that some departments start brainstorming pumpkin themes several weeks in advance of Contest Day.

This year, first place went to the display from our Health Research Group, seen here. That program group chose compounding pharmacies as its theme, emphasizing a profound lack of government oversight and sometimes appallingly unsanitary conditions found when the government does inspect.

Second place went to our Congress Watch program, where — who knew! — an incredibly talented organizer-by-day-artist-by-night works. The theme: Ralph Nader, Public Citizen’s founder.

The consensus was that the face on the pumpkin looks more like Ralph than Ralph looks like Ralph. You can see for yourself:

The second-place winner in our annual Pumpkin Carving Contest


Other entries included a pumpkin carved as the U.S. Supreme Court, an ornate pumpkin head with flowers and  a lot of bling, a pumpkin with dollar signs for eyes and much more. Before the judging (done by popular vote, of course, because we believe in democracy), each group had time to make a short pitch.

You can check out more entries here on our flickr stream.

Now, back to work!