Kaitlynn Tarbox Contributing Writer

    From zombies to Jack Skellington, Griffin Graves, a senior secondary education major, has carved a vast array of characters and scenes into pumpkins the size of his head. Graves has turned what is usually a one time event during the Halloween season into a frequent adventure to the pumpkin patch. 

    Graves said, “Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I’ve been carving pumpkins for years and as I got older the carvings became more complex.” 

A Pumpkin Carved by Graves (Photo courtesy of Kaitlynn Tarbox)

    Graves elaborate designs can be found on his facebook page, and he gets his patterns from a website called Zombie Pumpkins, though he likes to add his own touch to the designs.“This year I’ve been adding scrapings to the designs to bring the rest of the pumpkin to life,” he said. “ I do this by using a tool that looks almost like a vegetable peeler. If you scrape the skin of the pumpkin away it gives a faint orange-reddish glow. All in all I like doing the pumpkins this way because it makes the pumpkin feel like a ‘scene.’” 

    Each carving varies on the difficulty of the pattern and the size of the pumpkin, but Graves said, “Without doing a scraping I can get a medium sized pumpkin with a rather complex pattern done in about an hour. For the more extreme patterns and scrapings it can take upwards of 3 hours.” 

    He currently plans to carve anywhere from 10 to 15 pumpkins before Halloween and has already completed several. 

    The tools needed for pumpkin carving are commonly sold at Walmart and other places nearby, but Graves prefers to buy his tools elsewhere. He said, “I mainly use the tiny saws that most people are probably familiar with. I have my own kit that I ordered from amazon because the ones they sell at Walmart and other places are too flimsy and break almost immediately.” 

      Graves also goes by another name in the month of October: Dr. Pumpkins. “My friends and I were joking about how funny it would be for someone to put a pumpkin on their head and just go to all their classes,” he said. 

    And that he did. Graves carved a pumpkin, put it on his head and wore his trusty lab coat. He and his friends created a backstory for the character and it has since become an annual tradition. Graves is looking to get more people to participate so he will “have an army of pumpkin heads walking around campus.” 

     Jacob Bishopp, a junior geology major and Graves’ roommate, said “Pumpkins bring me joy and carving them is a good way to unwind and celebrate the Halloween season.” He often carves with Graves, lining their window sill and decorating their dorm with all the pumpkins they carve. 

    Bishopp believes that if there was a way for them to display the pumpkins without the risk of them getting damaged, more people would be likely to enjoy them. By putting their designs on social media, Bishopp and Graves can share something they have enjoyed doing with others from all sorts of different places. 

    The duo has found pumpkin carving to be a great way to release stress before midterms. “Just start doing it. Invite friends to your dorm or apartment and have a party with it. You can get awesome patterns online; sometimes you have to pay a dollar or two, but it really isn’t that bad,” Graves said. “I know that they will rot in a few days and that all the ‘work’ will be gone, but to me, carving them is almost therapeutic. It’s like my version of a zen garden.”