Pumpkin Portraits Bring New Spirit to Halloween

by Kevin Tibbles /  / Updated 

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Pumpkin carving is a time-honored Halloween tradition. This year, however, the pastime is getting a face lift.

The latest trend among a growing number of artisanal carvers across the country is the portrait.

Families now can get their portraits carved into a pumpkin. In one shop in Brooklyn, more detailed pumpkin portraits can cost up to $500.

An artist at Maniac Pumpkin Carvers works on a pumpkin.
An artist at Maniac Pumpkin Carvers works on a pumpkin.George Itzhak/NBC News

"It’s big and orange and unique," said Chris Soria, founder and co-owner of Maniac Pumpkin Carvers in Brooklyn. "To see a unique image or work of art carved into it or to see it in process being carved is really exciting."

The simplest carvings, Soria says, typically can be completed within a half hour while the more intricate designs can take up to eight hours. Soria says that this Halloween season has been the best for business since he opened the shop a decade ago. The company typically carves about 500 pumpkins a year.

Jeanette Paras of Dublin, Ohio, is not a dedicated pumpkin carver — she paints them. "I pumpkinize," Paras said.

NBC News

For more than 25 years, Paras has "pumpkinized" everyone from Miley Cyrus to President Obama. This year, she pumpkinized one of America’s most famous and controversial public figures: Donald Trump.

Paras spent ten hours painting the Donald's mug onto a monster 374-pound pumpkin. The most difficult feature was, unsurprisingly, the real estate magnate’s unmistakable mane. Paras used six blonde wigs — each 38 inches in length — to mimic the coiffure.

She dubbed her creation the "Trumpkin." The project went viral online and Paras says she plans to leave Trumpkin on display past Halloween.

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