How long have been doing this?

As long as I can remember I have always carved pumpkins. WIth each passing year the designs grew in complexity. Back in 1988, I was beginning to carve out your traditional orange pumpkin in the traditional manner when a flash of insight occurred. I went to the kitchen and grabbed a vegetable decoration tool and began to add surface detail to the pumpkin. The tool had a small strip of stainless steel and much like the V blade I use today it could remove strips of pumpkin.

Next year I sculpted the eyes, drilled out the pupils added glass marbles and put much more work in the surface of the pumpkin. I was all prepared for next year when I got a Xacto knife set for Christmas. Now I had better tools to work with. Here is when the technique really developed. I no longer cut through the pumpkin but worked on the surface. Unfortunately some Hillbilly Kids 2X4ed the second pumpkin that year, but I made the best of it and sculpted a pair of huge ears and mortised them into the pumpkin. So within 3 years the technique had really solidified.

The next year, someone told me they saw Giant Pumpkins in St Mary's (about a 1 1/2 hour drive) so I went of course and bagged two nice Atlantic Giants. That year I learned a very important lesson, patience, you see I started carving the first one about a week early and yes it was mostly mush by Halloween. It was then that I learned the important lesson that you start 2 days before. Not all was lost as Chumley, the second pumpkin, was excellent. I still put a light in the rotting one and propped him up with a Plexiglas tube.

The next year I had heard that Atlantic Giants were grown in North Collins (a hour North near Buffalo). So I decided I would go up to hunt for pumpkins. There I met farmer Awald and in the patch sat a beautiful 250+ Pounder. Colonel Montgomery McHaggis and Birdo was the result. The years pass on and Farmer Awald continued to provide beautiful Grumpkins for me to release.

In 2000, Paul and Jennifer took me to Olean, NY to visit the Walk of Terror and to have a look at a bus. As we were turning the bus into the Alien Bus of Pure Terror Andy Wolf shows up with a truckload of Atlantic Giants. Needless to say by the time I had left I had agreed to carve live during the event. As the years went by we both honed our skills and the fruits grew larger and larger. Tim Bailey and I worked together and he grew Grumpkins too. In 2002 he grew a 1245 pound pumpkin. So not wanting to burn himself out he gave me Billy Curmudgeon the 880 pound wonder boy. Over 4 days time I shaved off over 111 pounds of pumpkin. I was a warm day in august when I got the email and by Halloween was carving in Kowloon, Hong Kong. How could I imagine when I grabbed that tool that seventeen years later I would be planning my Asian tour.

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