By rights, I should be studying for immunology. I have been (just ask me how APCs relate to Lindsay Lohan’s arrest record), and I continue to scramble for Wednesday’s exam but this has been the first lovely weekend in an age, and I couldn’t sit it out. So, of course, I popped down to the botanical gardens. Man, was I in for a treat!

New York Botanical Adventure Garden

New York Botanical Adventure Garden

You see, what hadn’t sunk in was that out there in the real world people only get to see skeletons once a year. It’s a tremendous deal. While our institutions pride themselves on having buried grave robbing, as it were, the rest of the world digs it up each October. So, as I have been shuttered away in the library reading about bones and guts and gore, New York has actually been preparing for Halloween.

Spider in the Ivy

Spider in the Ivy

I must say, the city does this in style.

pumpkin bugs

Pumpkin Bugs

A number of the smaller installations are what the garden calls “funkins,” or carved foam pumpkin casts that allow the carvings to withstand a little more wear and tear from exuberant kids and, of course, the park’s intrepid squirrels. The funkins are convincingly realistic, and it took me a while to figure out how they were constructed. However, there’s just no fooling some people, and a brave few took the investigation into their own hands.

New York Breeds Skeptics

New York breeds skeptics

This being a botanical garden, many of the jack o’ lanterns were carved to have faces of leaves or flowers, but around the time that the scarecrow outcrop came along, so did more designs.

Sunshine jack o lantern

Sunfaced jack o’ lantern

This may have been set in the children’s garden, but the deeper we went, the more adults there seemed to be. Somehow it transitioned from a 1:4 adult to child ratio to more like 4:1. In retrospect, that should have tipped me off that we were approaching the real pumpkin wonders.

pumpkin zombie spider

Pumpkin Zombie Spider

Yesterday, kids got to help carve the legs for the monster spider, which sports 400lbs of thorax, jointed wood armatures for the legs, and an appropriately ghastly Frankenstein face. Today, however, it was all cordoned off. This did not go over well with the under-10 crowd, believe me. Still, there were some other pretty cool things to be gawked at, too.

Pumpkin Wow

Pumpkin Wow demonstration carving

pumpkin wow closeup

Pumpkin Wow: now in 3D!

Although the garden so far had lived up to the name of the Pumpkin Wow workshop, we had not yet reached the scene of this year’s masterpiece. Two days in, and it’s still under construction, but it takes pumpkin carving to a whole nother level.

Pumpkin Zombie

Pumpkin Zombie

Yes, the pants and entrails are all pumpkin, too. And that’s not all.

raise the...dead?

Pumpkin Horde

Apparently pumpkin zombie can raise a festive pumpkin horde. I bet they’re devils on the squash court.

I bet they're devils on the squash court

Pun’kin Heads

Honestly, halfway through my exam notes, I can identify a bit with the dopey franken-minion on the left.

You should see the workshop next door to this, where they had all of the different pumpkin varieties assembled to carve for the individual colors and textures used in this scene. Some of the squash were close to 2,000 lbs to start with, and all of the innards that they hollowed out to make them lanterns became the more people-looking innards of the sculpture. I can’t wait for the finished product!

This about concludes my study break allotment, so we’ll save the other photos from this outing for later. Tune in next week for your scheduled zombie update!*

*that means me, not the pumpkins, I’m afraid. Sorry to disappoint 🙂