Tina Bellin and her son Billy of Seminole pose with their pumpkin, as they get ready to do some carving.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Even before the doors opened at 11 a.m. there was a lineup outside City Hall. That is how popular the annual Halloween Pumpkin Carving contest is in Indian Rocks Beach.
On Oct. 27 more than 100 children with their parents took their places at the newspaper-covered tables, picked up their pumpkins and began to carve faces that depicted anything their minds could imagine, as one young boy proclaimed, “As long as it is scary.”
The pumpkin carving contest has been going on in Indian Rocks Beach for years. The city’s public works supervisor, Randy Schwab, oversees the event.
“This has been happening for at least 15 years,” he said. “It looks like this year is going to be as big as or bigger than in years past, they are coming.”
The city provides 120 pumpkins, enough for one per child who registers. IRB doesn’t do it alone however.
“Belleair Beach is also involved in this,” said Schwab. “They give us money to help pay for the supplies and pumpkins, and people come from there to help run this day. It is good to work with your neighbors.”
The entire City Hall auditorium was filled with rows and rows of tables all covered in newspapers to catch the messy contents as the pumpkins got hollowed out in preparation for the carving of that scary face.
The Hughley family of Indian Rocks Beach were among the many attendees.
“We’ve been coming for the past five years,” said Ernest Hughley as he helped his youngest son 5-year-old Nemiah empty their pumpkin.
They were getting ready to carve the face of a vampire in it.
Nearby mom Taronda was doing the same with another pumpkin helping 9-year-old Janyla. “We’re doing this to help raise awareness of breast cancer,” said Janyla.
Other parents were just as upbeat as they helped their children carve a scary face. Julie White was helping her son Colin who was carving the face of a robot in his pumpkin. They live in Seminole now but Julie grew up in Indian Rocks Beach.
“We come to every event in this city,” she said. “I came to this event when I was younger and now I’m here with Colin.”
Tina Bellin, also of Seminole, was helping her son Billy.
“We were here last year,” she said. “We have been looking forward to this all year; we couldn’t wait to come back.” Billy, after some consideration, still couldn’t decide what he wanted to carve into his pumpkin and finally said: “Something scary.”
It was a morning full of smiles and laughter as one mom observed: “How come this is a pumpkin carving contest for the kids, yet I see the parents doing much of the work.” Another parent overheard her and remarked, “That’s always the way it is, isn’t it?”
After a while everybody got some pizza, compliments of Pizza Shack, and then best of all, they got to take their pumpkins home with them, just in time for Halloween.