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Pumpkin sculptures

Updated on August 17, 2014

Pumpkin Sculptures

Halloween often means the appearances of Jack-o-lanterns and carved pumpkins in every size, shape and design. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating this seasonal ritual. There are those with skilled hands and a very fertile imagination who have elevated carved pumpkins to another level. Nothing compares to these hauntingly realistic three-dimensional pumpkin sculptures that seem to make these innocent fruits come alive.

Here is a gallery of museum-quality pumpkin sculptures, by the Edward Scissorhands of pumpkin sculpting, master carver Ray Villafena of New York.

Be ready to be stunned and awed.

From schoolteacher to sculptor

Who is Ray Villafane?

Turning orange gourds to familiar faces

What going under the knife can do

Ray Villafane sculpts pumpkins with a scalpel and a spoon, in addition to various size clay ribbon loop tools to create fluid contours. He can skin, chisel and carve famous celebrities like David Letterman and Barack Obama in record time. He was a two-time winner of the Food Network's Callenge:Outrageous Pumpkins, and deservingly so.

Ghoulishly spook-tacular

According to Ray Villafena, the best shapes for carving faces are the tall and oblong-shaped pumpkins rather than the round ones. He prefers the ones that that have been flattened on one side from sitting on the ground for a while. The flattened side creates a ridge all around and this is where the face is sculpted. To create three-dimensional portraits, one need to carve as deep as possible being careful as one nears the center.

These two characters are out of their gourds.

Tip from Villafane: the best pumpkins to carve are the heavier and meatier ones so these can withstand the chiseling, cutting and rigours of sculpting.

Pumpkin meat holds moisture and a dull tool can turn the texture to mush and invite mold. Sharp cuts ensure the longevity of a pumpkin sculpture.

Feather in your cap

The round-headed pumpkin on the left seems to say: "You may have a feather in your cap, Chief, but I am a pumpkin unicorn."

The feather on the Native American Indian was added from another pumpkin.

Expressive and awesome

These two pumpkin characters reminded me of a spinster and an elusive bachelor. She appears to be thinking this- "Men are like pumpkins. It seems like all the good ones are either taken or they've had everything scraped out of their heads with a spoon."

Photo credit: It's just Jack

Look at the details on the faces of these two pumpkin characters. Only the skillful hands of a master carver like Ray Villafane can create realistic eyes with the sharp cuts of a scalpel. He does not use add-ons or embellishments that are not made of pumpkin. He is a die-hard master pumpkin sculptor to the core.

A pumpkin by any other name is still a squash

The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for "large melon" which is "pepon." "Pepon" was changed by the French into "pompon." The English changed "pompon" to "Pumpion." American colonists changed "pumpion" into "pumpkin."

Jackhyde and Zipperhead

Would you rather be in stitches or be zipped up?

Zipperhead on the right was the most complex and intricate sculpture that Ray Villafane did. It took him most of the day to create this outrageously awesome pumpkin portrait as compared to others which took a couple of hours.

Pumpkins come in every shape, size and color

The pumpkin on the left was carved sideways so that its stem appears to be impaled into the character's head. Can you feel the pain of this pumpkinhead? The character on the right looks like it broke out of its pumpkin shell and screaming "I'm out of here."

What is Halloween without the macabre?

These are two of Ray Villafane's jack-o-lanterns inspired by the sci-fi movie Predator. Ray Villafane has sculpted for Marvel, DC Comics, Warner Bros. as well as film collectibles (Terminator, Ghost Rider, X-Men) and the role-playing game World of Warcraft. He also competed in Jesolo, Italy in the annual World Championship of Sand Sculpting. Give Ray anything, pumpkins, gourds, sand, and he will turn these into some magical mastepiece.

A must-see video of Ray Villafane's pumpkin artwork

Science fiction characters

Museum-worthy masterpieces

Ray Villafane has worked as a sculptor for DC and Marvel comics which is apparent in his rendition of the ghastly and horrific pumpkin portraits.

Photo Credit:Easy Street Discount

The Medusa sculpture was created with snakes made from other pumpkins and integrated into this ghoulish creature. The incredible attention to details like the scales and flailing tongues of the serpents can only be achieved by a master carver extraordinaire Ray Villafane.

Pumpkin embalming

After hours of hard work creating your work of art, how do you preserve a Jack-o-lantern? Here's how.

Farmer Mike carves a pumpkin at a Texas State Fair

This is a farmer carving a giant pumpkin at a Texas State Fair with a carving knife. No matter how you cut it, a pumpkin can transform from a humble fruit to a comical character. Leave it to the vivid imagination and dexterity of a farmer who grew his own pumpkin.

Photo Credit: Mike McInnis

The outcome is this delightful pumpkin sculpture is one in a million and a ton of fun to create.

See more

spectacular pumpkin portraits

Take this quick poll

What do you think of pumpkin sculptures?

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Ray Villafane will show you how

Step by step instructions to sculpt a pumpkin masterpiece

Create your best pumpkin sculpture ever - Amuse your friends and scare your neighbors

Pumpkin carving tools - Get started with these essentials

Have your say about these artful gourds. - Aren't these just so gourd-geous?

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    • hntrssthmpsn profile image


      6 years ago

      These are delightful! I'd never heard of Ray Villafane, but suspect now that he may have been behind several awesome pumpkin sculptures I've noticed on various blogs. What a talent!

    • norma-holt profile image


      7 years ago

      Never seen this type of carving before and some must have taken hours to produce. Well done.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these. Awesome pumpkin art and awesome lens. Blessed!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image


      7 years ago

      What talent to create such artful creations. Congratulations on being a Happy Halloween Contest finalist!

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 

      7 years ago from Houston

      This is really tempting. I wish I knew about this when I was running the Artist Way group for six years. We did a city-wide Halloween monster contest using paper mache but this would have made a great second category. Congratulations on making it to the top 50 in the Happy Halloween contest, too.

    • auntjennie profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I love these pumpkins. I wish I was talented to create one of these:)

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, these are indeed a work of art and sure..."goud-geous"...blessings! :)

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      7 years ago from New York

      Definitely a very talented carver.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      7 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      These pumpkin sculptures are amazing - thanks for sharing.

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 

      7 years ago

      pretty cool!

    • sweetstickyrainbo profile image


      7 years ago

      some very creative work here!

    • julichri0909 profile image


      7 years ago

      They are really talented people, God given abilities to make something so strange into something so beautiful. Great lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      amazing pumpkins

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Two Thumbs Up!

    • InfinityDownlin profile image


      7 years ago

      What Ann said, these are really awesome!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These are awwwesome!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Whoa, I'm blown away by these amazing carvings! Thanks for sharing!

    • jaredsgirl profile image


      7 years ago

      These pumpkin sculptures are AMAZING!! Great lens...thanks for sharing!

    • DavidCzajka profile image


      7 years ago

      Greatest artist ever i seen, because its not a easy job to create a sculpture on pumpkin.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      OMG this is just Awesome great lens, great art!

    • Brandi Bush profile image


      7 years ago from Maryland

      These are absolutely amazing! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      holy cow batman! easy to give you a 'thumbs up' on these.

    • wheresthekarma profile image


      7 years ago

      THese are totally awesome! I shared this lens on my facebook. Hope you get lots of views...again, totally awesome!

    • justholidays profile image


      7 years ago

      OMG! These Halloween pumpkin sculptures are awesome! I'd like to be able to carve pumpkins like that!

    • ClassyGals profile image

      Cynthia Davis 

      7 years ago from Pittsburgh

      These pumpkin sculptures must take sometime to create. I wonder how they keep from rotting? I love the way you featured these great works of art.

      Squid Angel Blessings**

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      WOWW! these are awesome...The maximum I can do with a pumpkin is turning it into a curry! LOL blessed.

    • emmaklarkins profile image


      7 years ago

      Makes me hope I have time to carve a pumpkin this year!

    • Specialeetees profile image


      7 years ago

      These are just stunning! A fantastic lens, thanks for putting it together :)

    • bernie74 lm profile image

      bernie74 lm 

      7 years ago

      OMGosh These are fantastic, thanks for sharing


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