It is a Halloween tradition centuries old – but for one Fylde coast pumpkin sculptor, his frighteningly clever designs are sure to be more impressive than most.
As a tiler by day, Simon McMinnis is used to working with his hands for hours at a time – but when night comes, an altogether different talent emerges – his ability to carve pumpkins.
The 31-year-old from Poulton, who lives with wife Emma, 31, and their daughter Lily-Rose, two, counts the likes of Bart Simpson, SpongeBob SquarePants and Shrek among his stunning creations.
And with Halloween approaching he is very much in demand for his ghoulish designs
He said: “It all started when I tried growing huge vegetables – I managed to grow a 675lb pumpkin.
“But I was left with trying to recoup some of the growing costs. I entered a few sculpting competitions as a bit of fun and managed to win them and it went from there. In recent years I’ve been asked to appear across the country to showcase my designs.”
Simon, who studied art at A-Level, said he estimates he will have carved more than 30 different designs by the end of Halloween – with several of his creations to go on show at the Vampire Pleasure Beach event on October 31, where scary characters will guide thrillseekers around the seaside attraction.
He said a standard pumpkin takes around an hour to complete, but a more detailed design can take up to 24 hours.
He added: “In the past few years the art side has been surprising. People want more and more detailed designs.
“But it is always good to see their reactions to what you are doing. It puts smiles on their faces.
“My friends were a bit unsure about what I was doing when I first started, but now they are quite proud.
“But I have to have a patient wife. It is quite a messy affair and a lot of the work goes on in the kitchen – which does not always impress her.
“Once complete I have to wrap them in cling film and put them in the fridge to keep them fresh – they usually last for two days when out on show.”
For more information about Simon’s carving, visit his Facebook page, Simon McMinnis – 3D Pumpkin Carving.