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Alum Making ‘Gourd’-geous Pieces of Art Out of Pumpkins

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Noel Dickover's R2-D2, which he sculpted from a pumpkin.

Two eyes and a mouth illuminated by a melted candle just don’t cut it at Mason alum Noel Dickover’s Centreville, Virginia, home.

How about a pumpkin carved to resemble R2-D2? Or, say, SpongeBob? Leaving the typical jack-o-lanterns to us amateurs, Dickover, BA ’90, is a much-heralded artist when it comes to transforming plain, old lifeless pumpkins into glowing works of art [2] that have hundreds of people flocking to his house each Halloween.

“There is traffic out front each year,” he points out about the more-than-welcomed gawkers. “Even though it rained, we had 500 people come out last year.”

Dickover, who creates online communities for the federal government, got started in pumpkin carving in the late 1990s, when he came across some pumpkin carving templates online. Today, he calls his hobby an “obsession”—and one that has made him a stand-out in the jack-o-lantern community.

In 2007, his carving of the Death Star [3] from Star Wars went viral online and earned Dickover a “geekiest pumpkin” award from Wired magazine. This year, his R2-D2, which is one of about 35 he will produce, has seen a similar online fandom.

And while some of Dickover’s jaw-dropping works can take as long as 10 hours to create, he says he has no remorse when it comes time to dispose of them.

“Not at all,” he says. The joy he gets, he adds, is from watching children’s faces “light up” like a jack-o-lantern when they see one of his amazing creations. “It’s just so magical.”

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Another Dickover pumpkin creation

Want to learn more? Then watch Fox 5 News [5] (in Washington, D.C.) on the morning of Friday, October 29, when Dickover and his pumpkins will be featured.