Pop culture comes to life along mile-long Halloween pumpkin path

A person in costume participates in the New York City Halloween parade in New York.
From Frankenstein’s monster to the Mona Lisa, ordinary pumpkins were transformed into works of art ahead of the Halloween holiday at a special exhibition near Los Angeles.

Over a thousand intricately carved pumpkins — some as large as 45kg – illuminated a mile-long tree-lined path in a botanical garden just outside the Californian city.

Kids were delighted by gourds featuring Disney princesses and cartoon characters, while adults recognized Edvard Munch’s haunting masterpiece ‘The Scream’ and a pumpkin carved into a dotty face in the style of pop art master Roy Lichtenstein.

Professional artists painted the images on 75 over sized pumpkins and then delicately removed layers of skin in varying depths to render the light and dark areas when the pumpkins were illuminated.

Hours of carving went in to each one.

“We have everything from movie monsters to animation. We have famous people and Grumpy Cat. So pretty much everything. Something for everyone, and nothing too scary,” said Descanso Gardens marketing manager Jennifer Errico.

Four-year-old Juliet Spiking from Santa Monica said her favorite pumpkin was one with a cat face. Eli Hughes, also 4, liked Frankenstein’s monster the best.

A section of the exhibition was dedicated to prominent people who died in 2019, including actor Luke Perry and Spider-man creator Stan Lee.

“I kind of liked the section where they did the tributes to the people who have passed. They were really authentic. They looked real,” said JoJo Marckese, 69, from Burbank.

As well as the 75 large gourds, hundreds of more humble, regular sized pumpkins lit the path through the forest.