Back in the days of my youth (somewhere in the Pleistocene Era), I remember when decorating for Halloween meant putting up cheesy cardboard witches, ghosts, and monsters in the window. There were no animatronic zombies, life-size skeletons, or strobe-lit graveyards. There was no such thing as a Halloween store… and as for our costumes, either our moms made them or they were plastic and came in a box from K-Mart.
Times certainly have changed! Now Halloween is the second biggest holiday of the year, with over $8 billion in sales of costumes, candy, decorations, and more.
In many neighborhoods, there’s a lot of pressure to make sure your Halloween display is the most creative or the spookiest. If you’re not artistically inclined, you might pay others to create something unique for your holiday décor. But some of us love to get in touch with our creative sides and decorate on our own. Carving the traditional (or very nontraditional) Halloween pumpkin is one holiday ritual that can be a fun DIY art project.
For example, back in the day, carving our Jack-O-Lantern was something that was usually accomplished in half an hour or so. Mom or Dad used a kitchen knife to carve out triangular eyes and nose and a grinning mouth with a dangling tooth or two. There wasn’t a lot of creativity at work there.
Eventually, someone figured out that Halloween pumpkins could actually be works of art, and that trend started with the Founding Father of Pumpkin Art, Paul Bardeen of Racine, Wisconsin.
Over 60 years ago, Mr. Bardeen invented a new carving method using small saws and punches to cut intricate patterns that couldn’t be accomplished with regular knives. The Bardeen family shared their designs with family and friends, and before long, they launched Pumpkin Masters – the pioneering company in Jack-O-Lantern technology. Today, Pumpkin Masters still sells the original tools as well as other accessories and Halloween products.
If you’re one of those people who’d rather hire a pumpkin carver with mad skills, consider a business like Masterpiece Pumpkins in the Los Angeles area. Partners Chris Soria and Mark Evan combine their love of art and love of Halloween to create custom Jack-O-Lanterns. The finished products feature portraits, illusions, and even logos, each one more elaborate than the last. They also supplement their income by doing public demonstrations at various seasonal events.
Another way to profit from pumpkins is to provide the raw materials for professionals and aspiring pumpkin artists by starting your own pumpkin patch business. If you have a green thumb, a piece of land, and the desire to have a seasonal business, this might be for you!
Though the growing cycle of a pumpkin is about 120 days, a pumpkin patch business is an all-year enterprise. However, the profits you can make in the relatively short Halloween season can be substantial – especially if you branch out into other areas like corn mazes, food concessions, hayrides, face painting, and so on.
For example, the Berggren family started out with a profitable pumpkin patch in Gardner, Kansas, and soon launched another one near Wichita. Their “low-tech family fun” concept includes all of the above, plus a zip line, a giant slide, and a pumpkin cannon!
So whether you’re carving your own Jack-O-Lantern this year or acquiring a work of art from a pumpkin professional, think about how a simple vegetable can be the foundation of a lucrative seasonal business!