Frequently Asked Questions
- How did the pumpkin patch start?
After Craig bought his home and finished remodeling it, 3 years passed without any Trick Or Treaters. Craig, who has always loved Halloween, decided to carve a few pumpkins and carved "Happy Halloween" on the pumpkins then set them up on the fence.
After seeing Craig's pumpkins, his friend Sam volunteered to help him carve pumpkins for the following year. When next year rolled around, Craig picked up a few more pumpkins for Sam to carve. On carving day, there were 4 people around Craig's kitchen table.
The year after that, Sam asked if a few more of his friends would be welcome. Again this meant a few more pumpkins, and moving the carving into the garage where there was more room.
Every year the number of pumpkins has grown along with the number of people helping.
After a couple of years, Larry of Larry's Produce asked what all of the pumpkins were being used for. After Craig explained to Larry what he was doing with the pumpkins, Larry told Craig he would donate them.
- How long have you been doing the pumpkin patch?
From 1996 to 2015.
- How many pumpkins do you use each year?
The table below shows the number of pumpkins for the each year we have a number for.
1996 17 1997 48 1998 85 1999 125 2000 250 2001 285 2002 335 2003 352 2004 340 2005 383 2006 365 2007 448 2008 393 2009 589 2010 526 2011 583 2012 535 2013 735 2014 675 2015 884
- How long does it take to carve all of the pumpkins?
The crew now spends about two and a half days (about 17 hours) of carving the pumpkins.
- Do you carve all of the pumpkins by yourself?
No, we have a volunteer crew of about 200 friends, neighbours and family who help out. At any one time we may only have between 10 to 70 people helping.
- Do you pay them anything?
No! Unless you call piazzas for lunch pay?
- Why do they help?
All the volunteers love the pumpkin patch and feel it's a great tradition to have.
- May anyone help?
While we were doing the pumpkin patch, all help was accepted. And if we should restart the pumpkin patch in the future, the same rule will apply.
- Do you save all of the pumpkin seeds for roasting?
No. We don't have time to sort out the seeds from the pumpkin guts. A few of the crew like to save some as they gut the pumpkins but as a general rule we do not save the seeds.
- Do you buy all of the pumpkins you use?
Yes and no. Craig buys a few and the rest are donated by Larry's Produce.
- How long does it take to light all of the pumpkins?
About 90 minutes.
- How many candles do you use?
We figured we use about 4000 tea candles a year.
- How long do you keep them lighted?
From about 5 PM until Midnight.
- Do you have to re-light them during the night?
Yes, the tea candles we use last for about 5 hours, and we need to replace the candles during the night. Also the wind will blow out some of the candles, so we need to re-light those.
- How many people do you have lighting the candles?
It changes but about 20.
- Do you light them only for Halloween, if not how many nights do you light them?
We always light them for two nights a year. Always on Halloween. If Halloween falls on a Sunday we finished carving the pumpkins on Saturday and light them Saturday night. Otherwise we also light them the night after Halloween, November 1st.
- Are all of the pumpkins carved freehand?
Some are freehand art and some use patterns.
- If you use stencils where do you get the stencils?
Craig buys a few stencils books after Halloween the year before and than again just before Halloween so the newest patterns can be used.
- How do you transferred the stencils to the pumpkin?
- I found it hard to see the pattern once I have transferred it to the pumpkin. Do you have any tricks to make it easier to see?
- Do you use power tools to carve the pumpkins?
Power tools really don't work that well.As the power tool makes a cut the pumpkin meat fills up the cut behind the tool. Thus making for more work. Also the power tools can spray the pumpkin meat making more of a mess. We do use a power drill to make holes in the lids and for some of the designs.
- If you don't use power tools what do you use?
- Once you are finished with the pumpkins what do you do with them?
For a few years we were able donated them to a family for their hogs. Saddly to say the rest of the years they went to a landfill.
- What can you use the treat the pumpkins with so the will last longer?
We have found hairspray works well for our needs. It helps the pumpkin to maintain it shape and also help control the level of mold until Nov. 2nd when we no longer need the pumpkins.
- What's the best comment you have heard about the pumpkin patch?
In 2004 a woman who lives further up the valley from where Craig lives, had been taking care of her brother's gift store in another town. She has taken her 5 year old daughter with her to the store. During the day the daughter was reading a book about how once a year the pumpkins will come alive.
On the way home after closing the store for the day they started to pass Craig's when daughter cried out ...
"Mommy stop!. Back up the car! Stop!! It's true, the pumpkins have come alive!!!".
Included with the purchased pumpkin tools are some "pins" and and a "punch". The pins are used to hold the stencils to the pumpkin. Using the punch you follow allow the lines of the pattern and punch a hole through the stencils into the pumpkin. Then move the punch a little ways along the pattern (like a 1/4 inch) and punch again. Once the pattern has been fully transferred to the pumpkin the stencils can be removed.
Yes. We heard about a trick which we have found to work very well. If you take a little bit of flour and rub it over the face of the pumpkin where the pattern is, some of the flour will go into the pattern holes. Then wipe the pumpkin with a paper towel and remove the extra flour. This will leave a pattern of white dots on the pumpkin. Now all you do is cut out the pattern by connecting the dots.