Imagine an old Victorian style house covered in thousands of pumpkins for Halloween, lit and glowing an eerie yellow. An image right out of a scary horror movie. Each Halloween, for the past 32 years, Ric Griffith has been carving pumpkins. The pumpkins grace his house and lawn for his Halloween displays. He started with just 5 pumpkins in 1970. The next year his railing and porch were covered with pumpkins. The number of pumpkins that covered his house has grown over the years, and volunteers came out to help him carve literally thousands of Jack ‘O Lanterns, that completely cover his lawn, and house, all of the way up to the rooftops. For his latest displays he has included racks of pumpkins that have a computerized musical program, that plays such classics as the 1812 Overture. Over 3000 Jack ‘O Lanterns will be carved for this year’s display.
His house at 748 Beech Street in Kenova, West Virginia, has received national attention over the past couple of years after being featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show and the Today Show.
Planning for the then event takes the entire year for Ric. Each pumpkin is uniquely carved. Ric creates templates for his volunteers to carve out a face for the pumpkin.
Volunteers of all walks of life and ages come to help Ric with the pumpkin carving. They use powered jigsaws and knives to speed up the process. Each Jack ‘O Lantern also needs to be wired so that it can be electronically lit. The Jack ‘O Lantern carving starts off around October 25th, and they try to get 500 pumpkins carved a day.
Each pumpkin must be emptied of seeds and pulp. They pumpkin carving remains are donated to the local Habitat for Humanity, and the local food bank. The insides and excess of the pumpkins are transformed into pumpkin bread and other treats by the Habitat, and sold to visitors raise money for charity. This year, the town of Ceredo and Kenova will sponsor an AutumnFest to coincide with Ric’s Pumpkin house, and they expect another 30,000 visitors to come see the house and take part in the celebration.
Directions to the Kenova Pumpkin House
Kenova is located along Interstate 64, right along the Ohio River. From either direction, take Exit 1 from Interstate 64 and then go north on Route 75. At the 4rth traffic light, turn right onto Route 60. Traveling east, go 7 blocks and make a left onto 7th street then make another left after traveling a block. The house is at 746 Beech Street tucked up along the Ohio River.
The Kenova Pumpkin House should be easy to find, since it will be covered with lit Jack ‘O Lanterns that have lights dancing with the music!