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Happy Halloween: Google Doodle carves some awesome pumpkins

October 31, 2011 |  8:06 am


Happy Halloween from the Google Doodle, which uses mammoth pumpkins and some pretty sophisticated pumpkin carving to send its holiday message.

It's no trick and all treat. The Google Doodle often uses a static image when it temporarily revamps its home page. But Monday, users are treated to a time-lapse video showing huge pumpkins being sliced and diced and, as the sun goes down, emitting a flickering, ghostly glow -- and the name of the search engine, of course.

A behind-the-scenes video, above, shows just how much planning went into the Google Doodle and what it takes to carve pumpkins that big.

PHOTOS: More Halloween and Day of the Dead Google Doodles

One sported walls 6 inches thick in some places, requiring a saw to cut through. At least one weighed 1,298 pounds. Most surprising: These carvers were not experts, according to Google. They are amateur pumpkin carvers, part of the Google Doodle crew.

Each doodler got one of six letters in the "Google" logo and sketched out an idea of how that letter could be carved into a pumpkin and then backlighted. Those sketches, though, had to be tweaked when the giant pumpkins arrived and were perched on bales of hay. Doodlers said they allowed the pumpkin to ultimately express itself: "There's some sort of communication happening" between carver and pumpkin, one doodler said.

The project was largely kept under wraps. But it's a sign of the playful nature of Google's campus that when the carving got underway many employees came out -- in costume -- to join the fun. Turns out those are costumes that just happen to be kicking around on campus, in desk drawers and so forth. As the video shows, Santa Claus made an appearance, as did a dinosaur and Pegman from Google Maps.

The last step: Lightbulbs connected to a flicker box created the fake candlelight backlighting the final result.

"We hope our users get a kick out of it, seeing a time lapse of us carving these away and then the finale of lighting them up," one doodler said. "It should be cool."


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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch