The Pumpkin Hall of Horrors is a collection of pumpkin vignettes, little scenes acted out by one or more pumpkins. They might be as simple as a white pumpkin carved with vampire teeth and a mouth full of pumpkin gore, next to a frightened pumpkin that has seeds spilling out of two puncture wounds. Or, the scene might be as complex as an entire Pumpkin Operating Room. Here you see concerned doctors, sweat beading up on their foreheads, a pumpkin patient on a gurney opened up to expose green bean intestines and a red bell pepper heart, and long eye-lashed nurses standing by to administer a canned pumpkin I.V. drip line.
The first year we carved five frightening figures, and left the people in our new neighborhood to wonder about our sanity. Parents approached warily Halloween night to find pumpkins vomiting their guts out or spilling their pumpkin brains as they fell down the steps. I doubt any of the kids even noticed the pumpkins, they just ran right past, eager for their candy.
In 2002 my friend Kevin and I took it to a new level when we carved 31 pumpkins. They were on display at a collective art event called The Fire Garden in Berkeley, California. We do this show a few times a year as a group called Eccentric. (www.firegarden.org). Kevin and I are known for making solar powered sculptures under the name Sunbrothers (www.sunbrothers.com), and since this most recent show was on Halloween, it was also a great venue for truly horrifying pumpkins!
While working on the pumpkins, we spent a lot of the time laughing. Sometimes it was that “ha-ha-ha” kind of laughing, but sometimes it was more like an evil “mwa A-HA-Ha-haaaa!” Our carving method is pretty simple: once the pumpkin is scooped out, just grab a little carving knife and go! (Knives that are safe for kids seem to work just fine.) I like big googely eyes with large pupils, and just a few teeth. If I find myself giggling while I’m carving, then I know I’m on the right track!
Our big safety tip for horrific pumpkins, is make sure that the pumpkin guts aren’t on the steps where people are going to walk. It can be slippery and dangerous! Getting sued by a kid with a broken arm is WAY more horrific than a pumpkin-eating Vampire pumpkin!
Edgar Lee, a San Francisco Bay Area photographer, took these pumpkin pictures. He has taken some fantastic photos of our sculptures in low light, which means he had the equipment and the skill to shoot some great pumpkin photos! More of his pictures can be seen on his website at www.photo-freelancer.com.