3,000 Points of Light
Kenova’s Pumpkin House
By John Lilly
Photographs by Michael Keller
A concerned woman from Ohio came to Ric Griffith’s house in Kenova a few years ago, looking for the owner. She seemed worried. From her home on the north side of the Ohio River, she could see a strange orange glow lighting up the sky around Halloween. She thought maybe something was burning, but there was nothing in the papers about a huge fire in West Virginia, and the light, whatever it was, never seemed to burn out.
Ric smiled and explained that it was nothing to be alarmed about – it was only the massive collection of jack-o-lanterns he carves each year and displays at his house. Last year, there were more than 3,000 of them. Pumpkins line the porch, cover the eaves and much of the roof, and extend precariously to the cornice and tower atop this 115-year-old Victorian structure. They also line the front sidewalk three high, fill a large pyramid display in the yard, and occupy scaffolding and wooden shelves along the perimeter of this property and along three sides of the house. Oh, yes. There’s also Noah’s Ark, filled with a menagerie carved into jack-o-lanterns. And each one is lit up, 24 hours a day.
This is Kenova’s Pumpkin House, and it’s been Ric Griffith’s creation – obsession, perhaps – for most of the past 20 years.
You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.