May 20, 2017, Lisa B. Welch

The Manhattan Beach Halloween Pumpkin Race is in less than 24 hours. Pumpkin? That’s easy. How are we going to get it down the race course in one piece? As an architect I love to draw and I’m constantly getting my ideas down on paper. I started drawing ideas and my daughters wanted to contribute. They were going through their stuffed animal phase and they wanted their favorite stuffed animals to be part of the design. Little did they know what was in store for their little huggable friends. For them it was about the excitement of seeing their stuffed animals compete in the race.

For me the critical component to winning this pumpkin race was a straight and true alignment mechanism to keep the pumpkin pointed towards the finish line. I kept sketching and asking my daughters for their suggestions. We were having a great time going through the design process together. Sometimes under pressure, intuitive / creative solutions just flow into my mind. I have no idea where this idea came from but I looked at the Ikea stool my daughter was sitting on and told her she’s sitting on our big idea. Later that night we had the pumpkin, Ikea stool, wheels and axils all set up to meet the race regulations. The only thing missing were their favorite stuffed animals. They took one look at the hand carved bowl of pumpkin seed infested slime that I created for their animals and said “YUK!” We went with plan B and used some less liked stuffed animals to sit in the goo for the big race day.

It was a huge success. We made it through several rounds of races and ended up in the finals. With the help of the crowd and the little huggable creatures saturated with pumpkin guts we took 2nd place. The use of drawings got the kids excited because they could see what we were working towards. We had a blast and took home a 4 foot tall trophy.