Nearly half of Americans are expected to carve pumpkins this Halloween, but none will come close to the new Guinness World Records title-holder for largest jack-o’-lantern.
The new title was achieved by the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) at their 24th annual Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival on October 6 and 7 in Elk Grove, California.
The CSD commissioned three world-renowned pumpkin carvers, Michael Brown of Missouri, Brandy Davis of Idaho, and Deane Arnold of Ohio, to take on the challenge during the two-day festival.
Their award-winning pumpkin canvas was provided by pumpkin grower Josiah Brandt, of Rudolph, Wisconsin. Brandt drove 32 hours to enter the festival’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off. His 2,077-pound gourd took second place in the contest, earning Brandt $2,500 in prize money and the honor of participating in the Guinness World Records achievement.
Immediately following the official Weigh-Off, the carvers began working on what they called the “gigant-o’-lantern.” They had only 24 hours to transform the giant pumpkin before the festival ended. To make the deadline, they worked through the night, each of them getting only two to three hours of sleep.
The rules stated the pumpkin needed eyes, a nose, a mouth and a candle inside. The three artists sculpted a lifelike face into the side of the pumpkin, inspired by Arnold’s face, as well as six small jack-o’-lanterns to enhance the display.
“We are beyond proud to have been able to offer this one-of-a-kind experience at the Giant Pumpkin Festival,” said CSD event organizer Brita Geiger. “We found three pumpkin carvers who love pumpkins as much as we do, and they worked non-stop to create this 2,077-pound work of art."