When leaves rustle and the wind howls, pumpkins become a favored medium for many artists. This gallery features artists with very diverse backgrounds—a musician, a sculptor, a forensic artist, and a farmer—and designs with equally different aesthetics, including pumpkins with flowers, pumpkins with dead musicians, and pumpkins with NYC pride. Check out these elaborate pumpkin carvings from six carvers—they're inspiring, scary, funny, and beautiful!
Mike Valladao approaches pumpkin carving as a performance art. He's got a stage name (Farmer Mike), a costume (orange overalls and a straw hat), and a specialty. His preferred pumpkins are very large—between 100 pounds and a half ton, many of which he grows himself—and he has been carving them at fall festivals and state fairs since the early 1980s.
His signature technique is "Pumpkin Carving in the Round," in which he uses the thick shell of his enormous pumpkins to enhance the depth of his designs. Farmer Mike has been featured in The Old Farmer's Almanac, and has appeared on The Tonight Show. He also started a series of illustrated books to get children excited about nature. The first is titled Farmer Mike Grows Giant Pumpkins (QuarterCircleV, 2008).