Everyone has hobbies, and everyone has a favourite holiday, but for Randy Evans, those two things go hand in hand.
Evans, the superintendent for the Kenlar Properties apartment complex in Amhersview’s Manitou Village, has a special place in his heart for Halloween – and a special tradition that helps those in his community celebrate Halloween in a big way.
Every year, Evans gets the largest pumpkin he can find, which he brings back to his residence on Manitou Crescent to put on display for the kids and young-at-heart in his area. Each year, the pumpkin gets larger, and this year Evans has bested himself with his largest pumpkin yet – a whopping 750-pound gourd, which he has painstakingly carved into a jack-o-lantern with joy.
“I just keep getting them bigger and bigger. Last year it was just about 500 pounds, and that was manageable. This one was a little bit more work, but it was fun, though! I enjoy it,” Evans said.
“Next year, I’m probably going to jump to about 1,000 pounds or so,” he added nonchalantly.
To get his 750-pound pumpkin and set it up on his lawn, Evans went to his friend’s farm in Prince Edward County. Originally from Picton, Evans has known his farmer friend since their school days, and every year he drives out to see him and pick up his giant pumpkin.
As Evans mentioned, last year’s 500-pound pumpkin was a little easier to deal with. This year, Evans had a team of helpers and a tow truck to hoist the massive pumpkin from the bed of his truck onto his lawn. Evans then positioned the pumpkin just right before carving it – a task any veteran pumpkin-carver would overwhelmed by.
But for Evans, the joy of seeing kids from his apartment complex – as well as their parents and those from the surrounding area – delighted to see his display is well worth the work.
“It’s my little thing. I love Halloween, I have for my whole life, and I love the kids.
It’s too bad the weather is so bad this year. It rained a little bit last year but then it cleared, and it was a lot of fun! I had a little party here and I had kids that kept coming back. That’s the best part for me,” he said.
“Some of the kids have gotten a bit bigger over the years, but they still come over because they want to look at the big pumpkin again.”
Armed with his supply of Halloween decorations, Evans stages his giant pumpkin differently each year. This year, the pumpkin sits atop a bed of hay, with a little picket fence and corn stalks surrounding it.
“And I’ve got another pumpkin sitting on my table, and it’s carved out and it has probably close to 100 suckers sticking out of its head, and that’s just for anybody that comes along,” Evans said. “And I have treats inside for tick-or-treaters, of course.”
And best of all, Evans’ gesture – which he does on his own time and with funds from his own pocket – helps those in his community get in the spirit of Halloween in the weeks leading up to the big night.
“The kids keep coming by to see if it’s carved yet… it’s really just fun, and I do it for the kids in my complex, and then of course there are a lot of other kids that come by and just are in awe,” he said.
It’s his own little tradition that’s been going strong for many years… and Evans shows no signs he’ll give it up any time soon.
“My kids are 30 and 28, and I’ve been doing it since they were kids!” he said with a laugh. “Someone said to me today ‘You starting thinking about next year’s Halloween tomorrow!’ And I probably do! I’ve already booked my pumpkin, and that’s for next year!”