Hidden PVD

Making the Pumpkin Patch

Find out what goes into creating the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo


The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of our favorite Halloween traditions. Each year, thousands of pumpkins are transformed into not just bucktoothed jack-o-lanterns, but intricate pieces of art, and each year, the question we all ask ourselves is “How do they do it?”

Small, reasonably sized pumpkins get strung up from trees while big, monster squash that weigh over 1,000 pounds start getting carved up in September by the creative team of Passion for Pumpkins for the month-long show (October 5 to November 5). The photorealistic detailing takes hundreds of hours and patience; after all, there’s no undo button on a vegetable the size of a Fiat. Pumpkin carving will happen right up to and even after the show opens. These are living – er, technically dying – canvases that will be replicated and replaced as the month goes on. To say the work is impressive is an understatement. We tried carving Michael Keaton’s face into a pumpkin and trust us, it wasn’t pretty.