What is GUTS?

GUTS is a friendly pumpkin carving competition hosted by AIGA Pittsburgh. The primary goal of this event is to unify the creative community in support of the kids who fight the real fight everyday at Make-A-Wish® Greater Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Interested in being a carver?

Registration opens September 1! We welcome competitors from all aspects from the creative profession - designers, developers, art directors, artists, architects, photographers, and more are all welcome!  Sign up as an individual or compete as a team of 2-3 individuals. Each participant or team must provide their own pumpkin and carving tools. Both individual and team divisions compete for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place and a chance to win the GUTS trophy for a year and all the bragging rights that come with it. Sign up to be a carver today!

To-do at GUTS

GUTS is a friendly pumpkin carving contest featuring some of Pittsburgh's finest creatives! If you aren't carving, there is plenty to watch and do at GUTS. The event is free to attend and is open to everyone — guests, families, and children are welcome.

Watch the carvers live

Watch the "Iron-chef" style carving action live and up-close — we can assure that you'll be amazed at the creativity! Each carvers table has "trick-or-treats" to share!

Strike a pose

Grab some of our props and get your photo taken in our photo booth.

Win Raffle Items

There will be plenty of raffle items up for grabs!


Purchase GUTS posters, t-shirts, glasses and more at our merchandise table. 100% of the proceeds go directly to Make-A-Wish.


We've chosen 4 impartial judges to determine winners in both the individual and team divisions. Judging will take place after the 90 minutes of carving and all pumpkins are set up for judging.

Daniel Gurwin

Daniel Gurwin

Graphic designer and letterer

Brett Yasko

Brett Yasko

Graphic designer

Kim Fox

Kim Fox

Artist at Worker Bird

Lisa Krowinski

Lisa Krowinski

Chief Rocka at Sapling Press

Event Schedule

Carver Set Up

Carvers arrive at Spirit, park and set up their carving stations.

Ready, Set, Carve!

Carving begins and guests are welcome to arrive! 90 minutes of furious pumpkin carving action ensues. In addition to carving — the photobooth, kids activities, merch store, and bar will be open.

Carving Ends / Station Prep

Carving ends. Carvers prep their stations for judging and silent auction, and are then asked to leave their spaces. People can start casting their "People's Choice" votes at anytime.

Silent Auction and Judging

Judges will be making their rounds, scoring each entry.

Bidders can begin placing their bids in the silent auction.

People can continue casting their "People's Choice" through the end of silent auction and judging.

Silent Auction Ends / After Party Begins

Those winning silent auctions can take their pumpkins. Then, join us for drinks, food, and tunes after the event from 6-8 pm. A portion of proceeds from the after party will benefit Make-A-Wish, so eat and drink up!

Winners Announced!

We'll announce Team, Individual, and People's Choice winners and award trophies and prizes. Enjoy the tunes, and stay and celebrate (or drown your sorrows in a beer) as long as you like!

Carving Rules & Divisions

Carving Rules

  • The GUTS competition is open to local and regional creative professionals. We welcome competitors from all aspects from the creative profession — designers, developers, art directors, artists, architects, photographers, and more are all welcome! If you're not sure if you're a fit for GUTS, feel free to ask us.
  • Each participant or team must provide their own pumpkin(s) and carving tools.
  • Pumpkins should be gutted before carving begins to save time and reduce mess on-site.
  • Other than planning, no other prep work may be done on your pumpkin (drawing, scoring, pre-cutting parts, etc.).
  • Carving time is 90 minutes.
  • There has to be at least 1 pumpkin per entrant (individual or team member).
  • You may incorporate multiple pumpkins, gourds, and similar materials as accessories or in support of your entry.
  • Props may be used but cannot comprise the majority of your design. Keep in mind this is a pumpkin carving contest and your carving skills are what will be evaluated most heavily by the judges.
  • Power tools are acceptable but must have their own power source (no power provided).
  • Painting can be part of your design, but it must also be carved.
  • Lighting your pumpkin is up to you (no power provided).
  • Your final creation will need to be able to be moved from your carving table to the buyer's car, if purchased in the silent auction. If you are creating a team entry that is large, it will need to be structurally sound enough—or able to be separated to be moved. Note that the carver bringing in the highest auction bid in both the Individual and Team divisions receives a bonus of points, so it's important to keep the auction-bidders happy!
  • Costumes are welcome and decorating your prep area is accepted with limits on the staging area so that you do not disturb adjacent carvers. Keep in mind, the only thing you will be scored on is your pumpkin carving. If you are interested in receiving a plan drawing of your staging area or want to discuss any of this in more detail, please contact us.

If there are any questions about the rules that are not answered here, please contact us. We will respond to each question received.


Individual Division

If you join as an individual carver you will be competing against others within the individual category only. Your entry may incorporate a single pumpkin or multiple pumpkins.

Team Division

Each team is made up of 2-3 participants. The entire team works together on a single entry that should incorporate multiple pumpkins (at least one per team member) and will be judged against others within the team division.

Awards and Scoring

Scoring System

Every judge gives each entry a score in the range of 1-10 (1 being the worst, 10 being the best). Each entry will receive a cumulative score in the range of 4-40.

Additionally, in order to reward big money earners, the carving bringing in the highest auction bid in both the Individual and Team division will get an additional 1.5 pts, bringing your possible scoring total to 5.5 - 41.5. Our goal with this rule is to reward the entry that raises the most money and help break any ties. We hope you have fun with this and see what you can do to invite the highest bids possible!

Additionally, we take a close look at enforcing the rules to ensure a fair playing field. If your team is caught breaking any rule, then we will take a 1.5 point deduction off of your total. Be careful and make sure you are aware of all rules!


In each division, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners are determined and announced.

Additionally, the individual and the team receiving the highest cumulative score will be awarded the official GUTS trophy. We will engrave the trophy with your name on it and bring it to your office where you can enjoy display and bragging rights for one year. We will then pick up the trophy next year to give to the new winner.

In addition, we are including a People's Choice award! This will ensure that all voices are heard from your peers and the audience. Everyone at the event will be able to cast a vote.


By entering you are forfeiting your creation to the cause. Unless you are the high bidder for your own pumpkin, you will not be taking your creation home, unless no one bids on your pumpkin, in which case you are responsible for removing it from the premises.

A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.


Wall-to-Wall Studios
  • PPG Paints
  • Cotton Bureau
  • ColdSpark

Friends of GUTS Pittsburgh

  • Branding Brand logo
  • Espresso A Mano logo

In-kind Donations