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TV stars carve 1,456-pound pumpkin in Commack front yard

Long Island's record-setting 1,456-pound pumpkin, grown by Scott

Long Island's record-setting 1,456-pound pumpkin, grown by Scott Armstrong of Commack, was turned into the area's largest pumpkin sculpture -- just in time for Halloween. (Oct. 31, 2013) Credit: Brittany Wait

Where just yesterday, a 1,456-pound pumpkin sat on Scott Armstrong’s front lawn, by Thursday night, a man riding his horse-drawn carriage away from a spirit stood instead.

Over a two-day period, professional pumpkin carvers had transformed Long Island's largest pumpkin into Long Island’s largest pumpkin carving. And it was just in time for Halloween.

While trick-or-treating, Daniella Tannazzo, a 20-month old wearing a peacock costume, ran up to the sculpture, which towered over her. Her mother, Jaclyn, 32, of Commack, said they had driven by many times that week and seen its progress.

“It’s amazing what they can turn this pumpkin into,” she said.

Armstrong spent five months growing the pumpkin in his backyard, and on Oct. 6, he set a new record at Hicks Nurseries in Westbury at its 11th annual biggest pumpkin on Long Island.

He then hired two local professional pumpkin carvers, Sue Beatrice, an accomplished toy sculptor and past contestant on Food Network's "Halloween Wars," and Andy Gertler, of the Travel Channel’s “Sand Masters," to turn his largest pumpkin on Long Island into the largest pumpkin carving on Long Island.

The duo worked in his front yard from Tuesday until 7 p.m. on Halloween, just in time for trick-or-treaters to take notice.

“My neighbors are all excited, coming by and taking pictures. It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen, aside from my two children,” said Armstrong, 41, of Commack. “It's amazing that they can take something and make it look like it's in motion, adding life to it.”

Gertler, 54, who runs Pumpkin Sculpt USA in Sea Cliff, where he lives, said trick-or-treaters had been coming around all day.

“We've never done anything like this design,” he said of the giant horse-drawn carriage they created. “We've been getting some great reactions.”

After only sculpting pumpkins for a year, Beatrice can proudly say she’s already helped carve Asia’s largest pumpkin, and on Oct. 19 the world’s largest pumpkin at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx, creating a venus flytrap with wasps overhead.

“I have to say, it’s easy to create a masterpiece when it’s already a masterpiece to begin with,” said Beatrice, 52, of Sea Cliff. “His pumpkin is beautiful. It’s nice to see that we can give it a second life and if we do it right it’ll live on in photos.”
 

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