Aiken Regional Medical Centers staff create creepy, cool and spooky pumpkins for contest

Oct. 27—Cute, creepy, Oscar the Grouch and "Hocus Pocus" were just some of the pumpkins that were on display Thursday in the lobby of Aiken Regional Medical Centers.

The decorative pumpkins were part of the hospital's annual Great Pumpkin Decorating Contest, in which hospital employees decorate the pumpkins. The pumpkins are displayed and judged based on creativity, artistry/construction and presentation.

Winners of the contest received a certificate, but first-place winners received a gourmet cookie tray.

Autumn Carnival from the hospital's Critical Care (ICU/PCU) teams won first place for carving, and Trick or Treat Yourself from the APA Primary Care Medical Park team won first place for decorations.

Sylvia Williams, with human resources at Aiken Regional, said the contest has been held over the last 10 years as a way to get more involvement and engagement from employees.

Twenty-two pumpkins were entered in the contest, which included a fall theme, haunted house and pumpkin in a bathtub.

"The employees really take pumpkin carving and decorating seriously," she said.

One judge, Brooke Alquiza from Alison South Marketing, said her favorite pumpkins were the ones with a carousel made from a pumpkin and the trick-or-treat pumpkin.

"There was so much creativity and it's my first time judging," she said.

Another judge, Dianne Phillips with the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, said she liked how each year the contest is different.

"They always have such cool things and it is amazing to see the creativity," she said.

Williams said the contest allows hospital employees to release some stress while having fun.

"The artistic nature that the employees bring out is unbelievable," Williams said.