This past Halloween, Lutacaga Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Mari Vela decided to switch things up to celebrate the holiday. She came up with an idea to hold a pumpkin-decorating contest. Sounds simple enough, but the students' entries had to meet the requirement of resembling their favorite fictional characters from the books they've read. Vela said the idea was to promote reading in a way that was fun and memorable by encouraging students to craft creative representations of the characters that most make them love to read. "Basically, it was just something fun for the kids to do to promote reading at school," Vela said. "It was just really fun to see the creativity kids brought in and the characters they deemed their favorites." The pumpkins were on display for the first half of last week and Vela said it was very difficult for the student judges since the kids brought some impressive creativity in their designs. "There were a lot of really good entries and it was really hard to vote," she said. Winners will get gift certificates to the school's December book fair with first prize going to third grader Daniel Garcia Perez, who decorated his pumpkin to resemble superhero Captain Underpants. He earned a $15 certificate. In second place and earning a $10 certificate was Edith Vizcarra for her creation representing Pinocchio and finally, second grader Miccaela Valdez will get a $5 book certificate for her pumpkin she dressed up as Fancy Nancy - a character she loved thanks to her outrageous outfits. Unfortunately, participation wasn't huge in the contest's first year with a total of 20 entries, but Vela said the students who didn't try it this year saw their classmates having a lot of fun and expects them to join in next Halloween. "It was something new we thought we would try out this year and we didn't expect to get a lot of entries ... but I think next year, we will definitely get more because the kids enjoyed seeing them," she said. "The creativity the kids brought from home was just awesome to see."