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Jack O’ Lanterns Pumpkins to Lighten Up in October

Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | 5:35 am

Over a dozen artists will feature their realistic carved pumpkins during the Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns event at Descanso Gardens in October.

Master carver Ray Villafane from New York will feature his pumpkins carved with life-like qualities and intricate details. Villafane’s creations have been featured around the world, including on the Food Network, at the President’s quarters in the White House and Bermuda’s Sousa’s Gardens.

Villafane, the head of the Villafane Studios Sculpting Family, had a knack for art since he was a child on Long Island. Throughout his academic career, his classmates and teachers also recognized his natural artistic abilities.

He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1991. However, also having a passion for children, he elected for a career in teaching. Villafane taught Art for students grade K-12 in Bellaire, Michigan. It was during his teaching tenure that Ray began “dabbling” in pumpkin sculpting, initially as projects with his students.

After several custom-carved requests from his students’ parents, Villafane realized he was on to something with his pumpkins and started offering them to local hotels and restaurants. His first “practice” sculpture became his first professional sculpture, and in 2004, he was sculpting a Logan version of the X-Men character, Wolverine.

Villafane’s hobby of pumpkin sculpting was brought to an entirely new level in 2007 when he was contacted by High Noon Entertainment and asked to participate in the Food Network’s Challenge Show, “Outrageous Pumpkins.”

Guests can explore the pumpkins through the 45-minute to 1-hour tour in the garden.

The other artwork featured in the event are images of Spider-Man, Wolverine, Scooby Doo and Peanuts. A man proposed to his girlfriend through a pumpkin carving at the event in the past.

Ticket ranges from $18-$28.

Descanso Gardens is located at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. For more information, (818) 949-4200 or visit



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