This weekend, pumpkin sculptor extraordinaire Ray Villafane returned to the New York Botanical Garden to bring a creeptastic new carving to life before our very eyes. The Food Network star and his team spent Saturday and Sunday whittling and shaping an army of living dead from some of the area’s biggest Halloween gourds. We were on hand to watch as Villafane's scary scene - a disemboweled pumpkin zombie dredging up a pumpkin-headed crew of ghouls - took shape.
The Haunted Pumpkin Garden welcomed guests all weekend to watch the pumpkin master at work. Villafane and his crew of Trevor Grove, Alfred Paredes, Chris Vierra and Andy Bergholtz, a contender on the Food Network’s “Halloween Wars”, put oversized pumpkins from around the country under the knife. This year, a life-size standing pumpkin zombie rose from the soil, pulling pumpkin vines attached to other pumpkin zombies in the garden.
The chilling standing zombie was cut open harakiri style, revealing an abdomen fullof pumpkin guts, intestines and gore beneath a decaying shell of pumpkin skin. One arm was outstretched as if to grab his next victim, while the other gripped a rope to uproot his zombie brethren. His horrific face recoils in a scream, bearing just one pumpkin seed tooth.
The other pumpkin-headed zombies, with stems still attached, were partially unearthed from the pumpkin garden, their upper torsos just breaking above the dirt. The team worked around the clock to “graft” layers of pumpkin skin to the bodies of the zombies, protecting the inside flesh so that visitors can enjoy the spooky scene until Halloween.
The gory haunting extended into the nearby children’s discovery garden, where jack-o-lanterns joined more of Villafane’s zombie-faced pumpkins. We can’t wait to see what chilling scene he and his team come up with for next year!
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Photos ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat