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This free pumpkin festival game is the best thing to happen all Halloween

A screenshot of the pumpkin I carved for Ghost Town's 999th Annual Pumpkin Festival. It is a very large orange pumpkin with a very tiny smiley face in the middle

Adamgryu, creator of ‘Game That Graham Won’t Shut Up About 2019’ winner A Short Hike, has released a pay-what-you-can pumpkin carving game on itch. Just in time for the spookiest weekend of the year, Mayor Bones Proudly Presents: Ghost Town’s 999th Annual Pumpkin Festival is a genuine Halloween treat, and the best cure for October blues I have yet come across.

The premise is simple: you carve a pumpkin. Every player can submit three pumpkins to the server, but you can have as many goes as you want at the carving table. When you’ve got a pump you’re happy with, you can place it in the festival display alongside the work of your fellow ghosts. It is, and I am not exaggerating here, wonderful.

There are a few different displays (as ‘alternate universes’ in the menu) so hopefully we won’t immediately run out of space. But even if the gourds become too many, I think I would enjoy it just to walk around looking at everyone’s artwork. I recorded my sedate stroll through one world for you to have a look. There are happy pumpkins, scary ones, declarations of love, trans rights pumpkins, and one that just says DANNY DEVITO, which may be my favourite. Although I found a new favourite around every corner, really.

You can toggle the lighting on or off at any time to switch between day and night, with night time having chirping crickets and the soft sound of the burning candles in the lanterns. As you observe all the winter squash art, you can select any of them to give them a little heart vote. A virtual thumbs up. Big fan. Also, other players wandering about appear as floating ghosts.

The carving tools are great, as well. You have a knife to cut out big chunks, marking out the shape you want in straight lines – kind of like using the custom selection tool in Photoshop, yeah? And then there’s a scraping tool for shading work, which is like a paintbrush. You can undo anything or click to get a new pumpkin whenever you want. They come in many shapes, sizes and colours. Delightful. I have placed my own pump, pictured in the header, in one of the worlds. Let me know if you find it.

This is honestly the best thing to have happened to me all week. I loved carving a pumpkin with my mum every year, and going around to look at the other houses’ efforts (which weren’t as good, because my mum is an actual artist). It’s an actual joy to have a way to do a pumpkin walk in safety this socially distanced season.

Mayor Bones Proudly Presents: Ghost Town’s 999th Annual Pumpkin Festival is out now on Itch as pay-what-you-can, but it won’t be around forever! The servers will being going down a few weeks after Halloween, so carve ’em while you got ’em!

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Alice Bell

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