Meet the Utah Creator of Frankenstein Pumpkins
This fall put a name to the face of your favorite fall fruit with molded pumpkins.
He calls himself the Pumpkin guru—and for good reason. Jim Seamons is president of the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers and has won state fairs for the size and creativity of his pumpkins. But this season, one pumpkin shines (or spooks) more than most. Introducing: pumpkins that grow in the shape of Frankenstein, skeletons, and more thanks in part to the molds he grows them in.
Even though Seamons is a fifth-generation dairy farmer in Cache Valley, Utah, he toyed with the idea of growing molded pumpkins for some time. “Pumpkins started out as hobby income but now it’s developing into a full-time business,” Seamons says. “I set myself up that way when I shut the dairy farm down in 2019 after I failed to fully recover from the market collapse in 2008.” The risk paid off with a high reward as that same year Seamons made a larger income off his pumpkins than he did in the past with his dairy stock.
After the success of his crops, he shared his pumpkin creations on TikTok, which thanks to the guidance of his 14-year-old daughter, Ryann, was a viral hit. “I have orders for well over 1,000 and we only grew 100 this year,” Seamons says. “I already have a waiting list growing for next year.” And more than pumpkins saw success. “I grow sweet corn as well, and we were struggling to sell it this year but once our Instagram exploded I sold out of sweet corn completely,” Seamons says.
So how do you defy the laws of nature? Seamons shared his step-by-step guide to growing these pumpkins: First, you have to find a standard Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin and grow it to the size of a baseball or grapefruit. Next, you place the fruit within a mold and bolster the mold tightly together. Seamons warns that “the mold acts as a magnifying glass and will overheat the pumpkin.” His solution? Simply place a rag over the mold and pumpkin to block out the heat.
Growing the spooky pumpkins is a game of chance. “It’s a very time-consuming project. I walk through every morning looking for pumpkins that have filled out and if they have, I cut them off, and then there are pumpkins that are rotting or stopped growing completely,” Seamons says. “If you’re in farming, your window is so short to start growing something.” For every three pumpkin molds Seamons attempts to grow, he gets one decent spooky pumpkin.
When a pumpkin mold does go as planned, he cuts the vine off, removes the mold, finds a new pumpkin, and goes through the process all over again.
You don’t have to be a fifth-generation farmer like Seamons to complete the project. “Anyone can attempt it with the right Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin,” Seamons says. “I’ve seen pictures of people that have grown them in their flower beds.” The average pumpkin plant grows around six pumpkins, which gives you a fighting chance to get it right.
If you’re daring enough to grow your own spooky pumpkin, you can order the molds through this link. If you’re like me and don’t have a garden bed on standby, you can order from Jim directly or find him on Instagram @cachevalleygiantpumpkins.