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Bates Motel Pumpkin Carving Contest: Includes Complimentary Shower

October 31, 2014

I have a special Halloween greeting for all my faithful readers.

Are you a first time visitor? That’s OK, you get the greeting, too.


It all began with a good deed: I did some caricatures for a local community theater. The art was used on a poster for a show. I wrote about it in an earlier post.

The theater company said: “You are a kind and generous soul, an exceptional human being– you must be rewarded.” (I’m paraphrasing here.)

So they gave me a free ad in the program for their latest show, a comedy about murder at a 1940’s radio station. It opens tonight, on Halloween.

Here’s my ad:

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ad for community theater program parody of Hitchcock Psycho movie with Norman Bates mother slashing stabbing pumpkin for Halloween jack o'lantern

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As you may have guessed, it’s a parody of Psycho, which is probably director Alfred Hitchcock’s best-known film. Most of the action takes place at the sinister Bates Motel, including the famous “shower scene.”

“Slash a leg” is a play on words: superstitious theater folks don’t want to jinx themselves, so they wish each other good luck by saying, “Break a leg!”


I always ask myself if there’s anything else I can do with an illustration. I thought this
one would make a great Halloween card. So I did a color version, and uploaded it to my store. Here it is:

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Psycho Halloween from Bates Motel greeting card parody of Hitchcock Psycho movie with Norman Bates mother slashing stabbing pumpkin for jack o'lantern

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Not the most meticulous carving technique, but you have to admire her enthusiasm. Here’s a larger detail image:

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detail image for Psycho Halloween from Bates Motel greeting card parody of Hitchcock Psycho movie with Norman Bates mother slashing stabbing pumpkin for jack o'lantern

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Hard to believe Psycho dates back in 1960. I’d forgotten it was filmed in black and white. Supposedly, chocolate syrup was used for “blood” in the shower scene. Hollywood trickery takes many forms.

If you’ve forgotten the film, or never seen it, you can watch this trailer. It might give you chills, so put on an extra sweater first.

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I’m not a huge fan of Hitchcock’s films, but I am a huge fan of Hitchcock himself. He was just the sort of “artist” I most admire: a true craftsman who paid attention to every detail, but was always ready to poke fun at himself and his work.

No doubt about it– the guy was a kidder.

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Alfred Hitchcock who directed horror movie thriller Psycho sitting in director's chair reserved for Norman's mother Mrs. Bates

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Have you ever carved a pumpkin? Is it something you do every year?

Have you ever watched Psycho? If so, do you still take showers?

Are you a fan of horror? Is that why you visit this blog??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:


Birthday Tribute: Monkee Meets Blonde, Gets Vertigo, Goes Gothic

Eyes In The Night: A Street Corner You Don’t Want To Hang Out On

Lizzie Borden: Ax Her No Questions, She’ll Chop You No Suey

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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact information

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21 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2014 10:37 AM

    Love your work. URL for your store?


    • October 31, 2014 10:48 AM

      Thank you very much, Martha, and welcome. ‘Store’ was a clickable link, but I can see I need to make that a bit more obvious– thanks for making me aware of that.

      You can find my online store here:

      Really appreciate your visit and kind comment– Happy Halloween! : )


      • October 31, 2014 12:15 PM

        Mark, I had seen your shop from the link. No more obvious is fine.
        I guess what I wanted to know what site you sell via. I tried fineartamerica without much luck. Zazzle, Redbubble and CaféPress have been recommended to me.


        • October 31, 2014 12:38 PM

          Ah– got it. Fine Art America is currently the only site I sell from, but I plan to set up shop on other artist hosting sites as well. Makes sense to test the waters at different sites, then maybe cut back to the one or two that draw the most traffic.

          I do have a Redbubble account, but have only uploaded a single piece, just to test the upload process. I have a note in front of me, reminding me that I need to establish a viable presence there.

          I’ve heard of both Zazzle and CaféPress, but have not explored them. I know some other artists who sell their work thru Society 6; you might want to check out that site as well. Good luck, please let me know how you make out! : )


  2. October 31, 2014 10:51 AM

    Great post! Love Psycho! I’d love to know what else you’ll be watching this halloween. Kindly let me know on my blog post What’ll you be watching, here


    • October 31, 2014 2:37 PM

      Done! Excellent film blog you’ve got there. I left a comment, which, I think, demonstrates my impeccable taste in cinema… : )

      Many thanks for your visit, come again, lights, camera, action, Happy Halloween!


  3. October 31, 2014 2:34 PM

    I’m not a horror fan, but I’m familiar with Psycho, and somewhat with Alfred Hitchcock. Here’s a few factoids I think are very interesting:

    The late Janet Leigh (the woman in the movie) has a daughter, and she is the famous Jamie Lee Curtis. Jamie Lee gave a wonderful interview to Good Housekeeping a few years ago about keeping a sane approach to housekeeping and home organization despite her dysfunctional upbringing.

    I watched a PBS documentary about Mel Brooks (American Masters, I believe?) and perhaps you’re familiar with Brooks’ parody of the Psycho shower scene. He said that he showed it to Hitchcock, who pointed out Brooks didn’t use the same number of shower curtain clips as he did.


    • November 3, 2014 12:42 PM

      Hi, Jak! Many thanks for checking in. I mean, here– not the Bates Motel… : )

      Yes, I did know Jaime Lee Curtis was the daughter of Janet Leigh (and actor Tony Curtis). I do find it more than a little ironic that Jaime Lee Curtis‘ first film was Halloween, the high-profile slasher flick. And that she went on to many others in the same genre, becoming known as a “scream queen.” Some daughter-mother rivalry there, perhaps? She seems to have moved on to a more wholesome place.

      I had not heard the Brooks-Hitchcock anecdote– very funny! If there was any question about Hitch being detail-oriented, I think that settles the matter! Good to see you, thanks for sharing that comment. : )


  4. soul . to . earth permalink
    October 31, 2014 3:20 PM

    The one and only time I carved a pumpkin (’98), I wish I’d hacked it just like your skeletal lady w/ such a tidy hair bun…….mwahahaha…..

    ‘Twas for an office pumpkin carving contest that I won. Ahem…….probably ‘coz the judges were too kind to tell the foreign, new kid on the block it had to be a Jack ‘o Lantern.

    In an overflow of creativity, mine had trellis work w/ balconies (smaller gourds cut in half + stuck w/ pins) & small round mirrors stuck on to reflect light. With a lit candle inside, it was truly the Taj Mahal (Trump-style gaudy) of pumpkins!! 🙂 Fun, painstaking but never again.

    Happy Halloween to you and yours!


    • November 4, 2014 12:25 PM

      Yes… a jaali of finest marble and precious stones… I was thinking of ordering one in advance for my tomb. I have my epitaph prepared, too:

      Here lies Armstrong The Great
      American-born, but Indian in spirit
      He claimed he was a raj
      But no one wan’ta hear it

      Yes, I think that covers it. Very poetic, too. Wow– a जैक बजे लालटेनों with jaalis and balconies and mirrors!! I certainly hope someone took a picture. Reminds me of a Dorothy Sayers title: Gaudy Night. Sounds like you really delivered the gourds– er, goods, my dear Radhika– belated congrats on your truly shining victory!! : )


      • soul . to . earth permalink
        November 4, 2014 2:21 PM

        Hey! No epitaphs yet, please. The world needs more laughs for time to come. So, keep your strong arm flexed and sketchy.

        Yes, I do have a pic of my लालटेन के जैक (doesn’t translate well to Hindi) somewhere…… architecturally Gaudi! 😀 [Btw, the prize was a bottle of red wine.]


        • November 4, 2014 7:09 PM

          Oh, I see– you thought I planned to be buried in the tomb. Nay, nay, forsooth!– I just wanted it built so I could stop by and reminisce about what a great man I was. Er, am… : )

          So there’s a photographic record of your winning लालटेन के जैक? Excellent. Great architectural marvels need to be preserved for posterity. I don’t suppose you still have the original? No, no, of course not, that was too much to hope for… : )

          I’d never heard of Antoni Gaudí. Interesting chap. If you read the Style section in his Wikipedia article, it cites the “oriental arts” of India as an influence– one of your ancestors, no doubt… : )

          A bottle of red wine as the prize for a winning लालटेन के जैक?? Absurd!– it shoulda been orange wine. Hopefully, with the seeds removed… : )


  5. November 6, 2014 7:36 AM

    Not only do I admire her enthusiasm, I stand in awe of the talented hand [hands?!] that drew her! Thank you, my friend.
    -Never carved a pumpkin.
    -3 times – LOL Yes, but with a mirror always facing the door!
    -Not until I met my husband who turned me to a horror movie fan [Argento, Romero, Carpenter etc].
    Need I mention why I visit this blog? Why, how else will my day brighten up?!!!


    • November 8, 2014 11:04 AM

      You stand in awe?? That makes me blush and say,”Aw…” Hmm– nice symmetry there… : )

      You’ve never carved a “jack”? Oh, that’s right, you’re a painter, not a sculptor. And naturally, you like to work with other colors besides boring ol’ orange… : )

      A mirror in the shower to watch the door… brilliant! That beats hanging a Do Not Disturb sign on the shower curtain, which is what I do… : P

      No kidding, you are a horror movie fan? Well, I guess all painters have to get in touch with their “inner demon.” I’m a little squeamish, so I just invite my inner demon over for tea. He’s not a bad chap, really, and he always brings these wonderful little pastries… : )

      As for day-brighteners, you’re in a class by yourself, my dear radiant Marina!! : )


  6. November 8, 2014 12:05 PM

    I am a huge fan of the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and of the Master of Illustrations, Mark Armstrong. I love your enthusiastic pumpkin carver and the turn of the phrase, “Break a leg.” Definitely inspired. Hope you had a wonderful Halloween, Mark. 😉


    • November 9, 2014 8:36 AM

      And I am a huge fan of Master Essayist and the Master of Incredibly Kind & Supportive Comments, Judy Berman! Also: Master Crime Reporter, the one who got Schultz and Dooley to “open up” and spill the beer!! : )

      Yes, a great Halloween, dear Judy: not a single trick-or-treater this year, which means I got stuck with several bags of my favorite candy. Oh, well– guess I’ll just have to grin and eat it. Oh wait, it’s already gone… : )

      Thanks as ever for your tremendous support, and as Schultz said to Dooley before every commercial: “Break a keg!!” : )


      • November 9, 2014 12:30 PM

        Thank YOU for the kind words, my friend. As for Shultz and Dooley, I just “tapped” into their source and they did, indeed, spill all. 😉


  7. November 11, 2014 3:03 PM

    I never grabbed onto horror movies nor am I familiar with Hitchcock as a person.

    I’ve never carved a pumpkin but we did have a pumpkin carving contest at our workplace. It looked like fun, hard work.

    You probably would offer great stencil design or 2 for some aspiring contestants Mark.


    • November 12, 2014 8:35 AM

      Hi, Jean! I hadn’t considered pumpkin carving as a spectator sport. I can see it now: a TV show called Carving With The Stars. Lots of loud music and flashing lights, and all the contestants would have to wear skimpy outfits. Celebrity judges could dissect the jack o’lanterns (verbally), and give each one a score. When someone got voted off the show, their pumpkin would be smashed.

      Yes, it’s a great concept. Of course, the ratings would probably plummet after Halloween… : )

      Good to see you, and many thanks for your comment!


  8. November 12, 2014 5:49 PM

    I never carve a pumpkin yet but I use to cut it in cubes and cook it with asparagus soup. It taste really good and nutritious too- like it helps to have a better eyesight… So you must add pumpkin to your diet, Mark, 🙂


    • November 17, 2014 2:50 PM

      You cut a pumpkin into cubes, and used it to make soup?? Hmm… well, it’s a little unorthodox, but I’ve checked with our judges, and they say, yes, it counts– you get credit for carving a pumpkin!!

      But how the heck do you stick a candle inside a pot of soup?? Please send a photograph, dear Dolly. Mmmwahhhh!

      Liked by 1 person

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