One of the annual rituals we delight in is carving pumpkins for Halloween. An evening around the table with a few gourds and maybe some hot apple cider — how fun is that? Now, imagine doing it all year round. That’s Christopher Matinas’ job.
Christopher is responsible for the Halloween Time decor on Disneyland‘s Main Street, U.S.A. — installation and removal of the holiday elements every year, maintaining and refurbishing the decorations when they aren’t on display, and creating new ones. Since Main Street, U.S.A. is bedecked with more than 300 jack o’ lanterns every fall, that means replacing damaged ones and adding new ones is a big part of his job. In fact, with Halloween Time 2013 in full swing, Christopher is now busy carving pumpkins for 2014 — he’ll be carving about 115 pumpkins between now and next September.
Obviously, Christopher isn’t working with garden-variety gourds. He uses foam models cast from actual pumpkins, in all shapes and sizes. Some of next years’, he says, are even covered with “warts.” The pumpkins are fragile and although improved storage techniques have increased their lifespan, they’re still prone to breakage. Carving a jack o’ lantern takes him about three to seven minutes (all that practice helps!), and each face is unique; he says that the pumpkins “kind of suggest to me what face they should have.” This year, keep an eye out for a special Elvis pumpkin in the Main Street record store — “In the past I’ve done Mickeys and other characters, but time has taken its toll!” he says.
With all that carving expertise, what kind of Halloween extravaganza does Christopher produce at home? He laughs when we ask the question. “To be honest, I don’t carve pumpkins at home so much anymore!”