Ric Griffith along with his community carves thousands of pumpkins every year. It is also a major tourist attraction during the celebration.
Costume shopping, decorating houses and getting the best pumpkins to make our houses look as spooky as possible are things that make Halloween one of the most awaited days of the holiday season. While everyone tries to do their best to prepare for the celebration, some go the extra mile. Ric Griffith of Kenova, West Virginia is one such person. Every year he transforms his residence into an illuminated ghost kingdom with thousands of carved pumpkins.
According to Today, Griffith decorates his house with 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins every year. With people coming to visit the pumpkin house from all over the world, the house has turned into a major tourist attraction during this time of the year.
The pumpkin carving at Griffith's house is a community event, however, the homeowner says the tradition started out of the blue. "I have three daughters and when they were young, they and their friends would help me carve pumpkins for the house," said Griffith, a local pharmacist, and the former mayor.
He told that the number of pumpkins gradually increased every year and soon, hundreds became thousands. Since then, the practice which started in his backyard became a community tradition, including volunteers from his small town of coincidentally 3000 people.
Volunteers gather at Griffith's backyard from October 19 to partake in the decoration. About 20 people, including kids and adults, carve 400 to 500 pumpkins for a week dedicating a shocking 16-18 hours a day. Added to a daily lot, there are also other people who drop by to offer additional help as per their convenience. “It’s organized chaos. But every year it works,” said Griffith.
While the volunteers crave and scoop the pumpkins, Griffith finishes 95% of the drawing before they come to help. Every year, they have carvings that follow different themes. They have a patriotic section that features presidents and also a cat based themes that features pumpkins carved with cat faces.
Griffith says that over the years the house has become so popular that it is visited by nearly 30,000 people during the month of October. Despite the crowding, people often park their vehicles away and walk towards the house to see the house in all its Halloween glory.
“We get visitors from all over the world. Last year, a lady from Ireland told me, ‘This is the greatest thing I’ve seen in America so far,’” said Griffith who feels blessed to have met so many people.
The house is also part of the C-K Autumnfest, an event that takes place during the last weekend in October including the communities of Ceredo and Kenova.