Carved pumpkins offer a rare treat | October 24, 2007 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 24, 2007

Carved pumpkins offer a rare treat

Stanford art professor encourages students to be inventive at Halloween

by Sue Dremann

On Halloween night, the pumpkins glow eerily in Matt Kahn's yard. Their carved visages flicker silently along the pathway and lawn leading to the front door, the same as they have for nearly 50 years.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be e-mailed at


Like this comment
Posted by victoria kensington
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 31, 2007 at 10:16 am

does anyone know where his house is? i would like to visit it this evening.

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Posted by Laura Parker
a resident of Portola Valley
on Oct 31, 2007 at 3:39 pm

It's on Santa Fe Road in Stanford off of Mayfield Road.

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Posted by Sanford Forte
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 1, 2007 at 9:32 am

I was there last evening; I hope the Weekly's photographer had a chance to see the work. It was an astounding collection of Halloween pumpkin art.

One thing that I found interesting was the constant side-chatter from various artists and art students, commenting on the various designs from a technical point of view - including pretty sophisticated renderings about the aesthetics of pumpkin carving. I overheard comments about how deep one should carve the interior pith to garner certain effects, to how certain angles on the various geometric designs were optimal in rendering shadowy effects.

My favorite was a pumpkin that had most of the interior pith removed, except in places where the untouched thickness of the pith rendered an image of a face when lit up by the pumpkin's interior candle. What captivated me (and others, it was a big favorite) about that pumpkin was that one could not see the face in daylight, as the image it projected could only be seen in the evening, lit by an interior candle, because the "face image" was entirely dependent on the depth of the interior pith - there was no carving on this pumpkin. I tried to take a picture, but my flash neutralized the interior light from the candle, and the face disappeared!

What a truly a great example of "art in the everyday!

Wonderful! Thank you, Matt!!

Like this comment
Posted by Laurie
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 4, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Thank you to the kind Stanford resident who helped me find the house. Directions were perfect. Found the path. Artwork was great.