Local pumpkin carvers give tips for great jack o'lanterns, sort of

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Halloween features a lot of traditions, including trick-or-treating and costume parties. Well, there's another tradition that encourages creativity, but can be a bit messy.

It's pumpkin carving and it's been a part of American culture for at least 150 years.

Last week, T-Bones Records and Cafe' hosted its first-ever, pumpkin-carving contest for the Avenues Neighborhood. Winners received gift certificates and other treats.

We spoke to a few of the jack o'lantern sculptors, to learn about their techniques.

"We tried to pick the biggest pumpkin there was," said pumpkin carver Lee Anne Venable. "And as far as technique, don't cut off a finger," she said.

"There is no technique," said Chris Price, another pumpkin carver. "I'm doing a little tracing action and a little cheating," he said.

"You have to start with a good idea and then, you just work from there and if it doesn't work out to what you originally planned, then you just move on and do something different," said  Brittany Pierce, another carver at the contest.

The art of pumpkin carving dates back hundreds of years, when the Irish used turnips, beets and potatoes to make jack o'lanterns.

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