Photo courtesy of Meg Bull
Photo courtesy of Meg Bull

The pumpkin supply is bursting from all corners of Wolff’s Apple House.

Roswell Henderson, the assistant manager for Frecon Farms in Boyertown, Berks County, has a great affinity for turning pumpkins into the unexpected and amusingly surprising outside of homes.

“Pretty much every other customer is coming in to buy pumpkins or ask questions about them,” Henderson says about the lure of pumpkins in autumn.

Henderson learned years ago that most pumpkins in the United States are grown primarily in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, curiously enough. And the oldest pumpkins known today were first grown between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago, he says.

He described a fellow who drove from close to the Delaware border seeking the unique varieties Henderson knows so well, all for the pursuit of pumpkin chunking (or pumpkin chunkin’), otherwise known as a large-scale pumpkin launching contest.

And who doesn’t want to catapult a pumpkin once in a while?

“People always want to find something unique,” Henderson says about autumn decorating and incorporating pumpkins into scenery around homes.

So he likes to recommend stackable approaches in creating pumpkin and Jack-O-Lantern snowmen (snow people, to be more respectful of genders and a bit playful word-wise, too).

He also offers the idea of getting out power tools, drilling holes at sporadic points throughout the outer skin of a pumpkin in order to create a starry globe with the help of a tea light candle inside.

And putting smaller pumpkins inside of larger pumpkins for a double-illuminated effect with Jack-O-Lanterns is another idea Henderson gives to customers.

While he sometimes even goes out of his way to use a router and jigsaw, honing his creative skills quite well per pumpkin, he also suggests testing out tiny screwdrivers which are made for repairing eyeglasses, as these help to focus well on small details with puncturing labors.

He notes that a fork can also do wonders as a tool for pumpkin-carving.

Here, Pete Kalabisko of Berks County enjoys time at a pumpkin-carving party.

And in some cases, Henderson says giving a less carved look with more texture is another route to be creative with pumpkins in autumn, with a more engraved appearance.

“The one great thing about stencils is that you can find hundreds of them for free through a Google search,” Henderson says.

But he always encourages both adults and children to use stencils as a base for their pumpkin-carving, then customizing and bringing out each person’s individuality by pursuing these fun times as an expression of art.

Henderson adds that cut up pumpkin parts can be tossed into a stir fry on the stove to well-utilize the innards post-carving.

Pete Kalabisko noted that this scene won the Great Pumpkin Award.

“I typically try to make pumpkins look as non-pumpkin-like as possible, with limbs and a separate head,” he says of his own persuasion with this autumn garden gift.

“When you carve out a pumpkin, scoop out as much of the goop as possible, as this keeps mold from developing,” he says. “Misting a spray of mostly water and a slight bit of bleach will also help to keep it fresher and lasting longer.”

Wiping down all fleshy edges with petroleum jelly is another way to help keep your carved pumpkins lasting longer, Henderson says.