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Meet: Pro Pumpkin Carver James Hall

Alameda sculptor James Hall takes jack-o’-lanterns to the next level.


Sculptor James Hall turns a pumpkin into The Grinch.

Photo by Mitch Tobias.

For James Hall, pumpkin carving is more than seasonal fun—it’s an art form. A sculptor by trade, the Alameda resident uses his talents to craft jack-o’-lanterns that mesmerize—and sometimes terrify—with their intricate detail.

Take a sculpture called Dragons, which features a swarm of the mythical beasts coiling around a pumpkin; or another of a snake, with piercing eyes and a flicking tongue. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe Hall’s creations are made out of squash.

His carvings, which take an average of three to four hours to make, weren’t always works of art. When he was four years old, his mom would only let him draw on pumpkins with a marker; once he was allowed to use a knife, he slowly started to experiment.

“I was 12 years old the first time I added more teeth and strange-looking eyes,” says Hall. “At the time, I thought it was cool.”

Hall has come a long way since then, and his skills have earned national attention: Last year, his team won the sixth season of Food Network’s Halloween Wars, and his favorite pumpkin—Vader Unmasked, featuring the iconic Star Wars character—placed first in Syfy Channel’s 2012 pumpkin-carving contest.

As you prepare to carve your own spooky work of art, Hall offers a simple piece of advice: “Have fun with it!” jameshallcreations.com.

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