Fifth-graders Audrey Orona with her cupcake pumpkin and Jazlynn Applin with her Junie B Jones pumpkin were among the winners in Iduma Elementary School’s Profiles and Pumpkins competition. Students decorated pumpkins to look like characters from their favorite books.

Using the season of pumpkins for all it was worth, the librarian at Iduma Elementary School pushed books and family fun with a decorating contest.

The puffy fruits painted and accessorized to look like children’s book characters decorated the school library the day after Halloween as librarian Libby Lancaster wrote out prizewinner certificates.

She deemed the contest a success, noting that it encouraged families to work together and generated interest among students in reading the books featuring the “pumpkined” characters. Students voted on their favorites and selected a “Dave the minion” creation by pre-kindergartner Gianelie Hernandez. She credited most of the work to her grandparents, but said she liked the book “Meet the Minions.”

Students also selected kindergarten student Evelyn Rainer’s pumpkin version of “Sofia the First,” with the pumpkin serving as the character’s purple dress.

Lancaster gave awards by grade level in realistic, multimedia, best display and textile categories. Winners received gift cards.

She said the school has held the contest in the past, but never received so many entries showing such

creativity. Students entered 48 pumpkins.

“The creativity they expressed was amazing,” Lancaster said, noting a Goldilocks pumpkin with curls made from uncooked noodles and a Captain Underpants wearing actual briefs.

“A lot of parents and staff have come in to look and kids want to check out the books they see with the pumpkins,” the librarian said.

Fifth-grader Audrey Orona won best display in her grade for a pinkish, cherry-topped pumpkin cupcake character named Cupcake from a book called “Bake Sale.”

Fifth-grader Jazlynn Applin won in her grade level in the realistic category for a version of popular character Junie B Jones from that book series.

Applin pointed out the marker-drawn face, pipe-cleaner glasses, googly eyes, hair bow and red wig on her Junie B pumpkin.

“She likes bows,” said Applin of the character from the series.

“It was a fun project. It was a lot of work, but my family helped.”

The fifth-grader said she was reading a Junie B Jones book called “Cheater Pants” and loved the way the title character made her laugh when she spoke out loud what most people only think.

Orona said the “Bake Sale” pumpkin was her mom’s idea and that both her parents ended up helping to contribute to her entry.

“I did it,” she said proudly of the paintwork. “My dad helped.”

She spoke of the “Bake Sale” story of an unlikely friendship between an eggplant and a cupcake and their resulting bake sale. “It’s a story about not giving up,” she said.

“I like to read when books interest me,” the fifth-grader said. “I thought this was a cool project.”

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