The Making of Giant Jack o’ Lanterns

The artist Skribe works on a giant jack o’lantern in Annapolis. Photo by Cheryl Costello.

Monster pumpkins carved up for holiday in Annapolis

By Cheryl Costello

Halloween may be over, but hopefully you were able to enjoy some of the most impressive pumpkin carving around. Four giant pumpkins were on display around downtown Annapolis—at Market House, St. Anne’s Church on Church Circle, the Graduate Hotel (126 West Street), and Visit Annapolis/Anne Arundel County Visitors Center (26 West Street).

Local artists painstakingly carved the pumpkins, weighing more than 1,000 pounds each, last Thursday for weekend visitors to enjoy. Then, something even spookier arrived—stormy weather and three days of extreme high tides.

The artist-musician known as Skribe pulled out all his tricks to carve a jack o’ lantern from the 1,600-pound pumpkin sitting outside Market House at City Dock. He even made his design with the pending storms in mind.

“I’m trying to strategically cut it so the rain doesn’t collect inside. So it’s hopefully going to go off the front and then maybe some eyebrows are gutters to channel the rain,” he explained, just hours before the storms began.

Skribe carved his pumpkin sideways—its oblong shape and sheer weight were unlikely to stand upright. “Yeah, sometimes the pumpkin tells you what to do with it. This guy is a weird shape so maybe the mouth goes there,” he showed us, pointing to the pumpkin’s side.

Passersby marveled at the size of the pumpkin and the amount of guts inside it. Pumpkin spice, pumpkin muffins—all things are possible with 1,600 pounds. Market House smoked the huge seeds from inside to serve as a snack.

Elsewhere in the city, other artists dreamed up a pumpkin carved with sea creatures and a portly version of Spiderman. It’s the second year that giant pumpkins have been placed in Annapolis. And from here they’ll head to composting containers to keep the circle of life growing.

The giant pumpkins will be carved up with chainsaws once again—this time for the compost pile at Truxtun Park.

“We were told that they were going to bring them to Truxtun this week,” says Elvia Thompson of Annapolis Green, which spearheads the composting efforts.

The pumpkins are so large they will first be cut up by chainsaw to be transported to the composting facility.

Annapolis Green was able to bring back its Great Pumpkin Drop Off (for all pumpkins—not just the gigantic kind) thanks to a grant from the Rotary Club of Annapolis’ annual Crab Feast. Last fall, the organization collected over 10,000 pounds of pumpkins.

The Great Pumpkin Drop Off

Don’t be haunted by this year’s jack o’ lanterns! Starting this week and running through Dec. 1, you can give those spooky squashes the dignified demise that they deserve. Annapolis Green and Veteran Compost will turn your old gourds into “pumpkin spice compost” available in time for spring plantings. Drop off at the composting bins at Truxtun Park (273 Hilltop Lane, Annapolis), near the boat ramp parking lot and skateboard park. Intact, smaller pie-sized pumpkins will be donated to the Maryland Food Bank. Pre-order compost: Photo by Annapolis Green.