The annual celebration of Halloween, especially in the US would not be complete without the spooky décor that people put in their houses to give some scare to kids and even adults trick-or-treaters. And of course, aside from the fake cob webs, skeleton, scare crow or a witch’s conical hat, the set of traditional Halloween décor will always have a jack-o’-lantern.
Whether made out of plastic or freshly carved from a real pumpkin, this popular Halloween object would usually depict a carved head of a scary monster and would usually be illuminated from within by a light source when the inside flesh of the pumpkin is scooped out. But if you’re tired and bored of the usual design of jack-o’-lanterns with angular cut-outs for eyes and mouth, there is one artist who has managed to make carvings out of pumpkin that can make anyone think twice if it’s really made out of a piece of vegetable. His name is Ray Villafane.
Born and raised in Long Island, Ray Villafane showed great interest in the arts at a very young age, with his parents as well as his classmates and teachers recognizing his natural artistic abilities. He graduated in 1991 from New York’s School of Visual arts and pursued a career in teaching arts for students grade K-12 in Bellaire, Michigan from 1993 to 2006. It was during this time that he slowly began carving pumpkins, initially as projects for his students. Eventually, the school projects were followed by custom carved requests from his students’ parents and finally he started offering his carvings to local hotels and restaurants.
In 2007, Ray was invited to join a Food Network’s Challenge Show for pumpkin carving. He competed as one of four professional pumpkin carvers and won all three rounds to take home the grand prize. Two years later, he was again asked by the Food Network to compete once more and defend his title, which he did in 2010, taking home the grand prize for the network’s Pumpkin Challenge II.
Since then, Ray Villafane’s amazing pumpkin carvings have gained a cult-like following, having been featured in various publications and even making their way to prestigious venues such as the President’s quarters in the White House and Bermuda’s Sousa’s Gardens.
And to celebrate his work and of course get you guys inspired for this coming Halloween, here are some of his insane pumpkin carvings.