- Nonprofit worker Noel Dickover is a master pumpkin carver that has been featured by numerous media organizations.
- He began carving in 1997 and since has learned how to make increasingly elaborate carvings of everything from a Death Star to scenes from Game of Thrones.
- His pumpkins are likely the most intricate jack-o’-lanterns you will see this Halloween season.
When Counterpart International project director Noel Dickover isn’t working on initiatives to get people more involved in social change, he carves pumpkins.
He’s become well known as a master pumpkin carver and has been featured on NPR, Wired, and a number of local news organizations.
In years past, he’s created a to-scale replica of R2-D2 and the Death Star, which was named Wired’s Geekiest Pumpkin in 2007.
It all began when his brother found a pumpkin carving guide in 1997. Intrigued, Dickover decided to make his own patterns and begin carving. His kids went crazy for it, especially when he carved a pumpkin with Star Wars’ Darth Maul on it. Since then, it’s become a family tradition and, over time, his carvings have become more elaborate.
On his website Fantasy Pumpkins, Dickover and his entire family post incredible and detailed carvings of everything from superheroes to horror monsters. Dickover may be the ringleader of Fantasy Pumpkins (and the only one doing pumpkins weighing more than 150 lbs), but his family members sure can hold their own when it comes to carving.
Every year, a few thousand people come to see the pumpkin carvings in front of Dickover’s house. He does a Death Star pumpkin every year.
Dickover and his family often like to do current pop culture carvings like this one of Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones.”
To make a carving, Dickover usually starts by making a pattern on Photoshop. To do that, he takes an image and converts it to three colors.
The image must be three colors because there are only three ways to carve —cutting all the way through, taking the pumpkin skin off, and leaving the skin on.
Sometimes the process of converting an image to a pattern that Dickover can take more than ten hours.
Once he has the pattern, he transfers it to the face of the pumpkin and begins carving.
Dickover adds texture to his carving by using a variety of wood carving tools, like chisels, gouges, v-tools.
Larger, more elaborate carvings like this “Star Wars” battle can take between 15 and 30 hours to carve.
This zombie carving took Dickover 12 hours because of the difficulty in making the pattern in the background and carving the three separate zombies.
For this carving, Dickover didn’t use a pattern. Instead he traced only the outside of the Cerberus dog and free-handed the details.
Dickover free-handed this orc jack-o-lantern, which he says was more of a sculpture than a carving.
Dickover also free-handed this carving of a dragon and castle, using the natural grooves in the pumpkin as guides.
The Dickovers like to do a collection of horror-themed jack-o-lanterns every year. It is Halloween after all.
Dickover’s son Justin carved this pumpkin of Freddy Kruger. Justin has been carving since he was seven years old.
Justin also carved this zombie pumpkin. Justin and his sister Sarah usually combine to carve around 30 pumpkins.
Dickover and his family often carve as many as 50 pumpkins a year.