A handmade, 12-foot-tall sculpture of a jack-o’-lantern now greets visitors to the Halloween Capital of the World.
Unveiled Thursday, Oct. 1, the sculpture is a gift from the city’s municipal electric utility in honor of Anoka Halloween’s 100th anniversary and sits in the fountain area outside City Hall, where the giant Christmas tree is “planted” each year.
The project started as a team-building exercise about two years ago, according to electric utility director Greg Geiger.
“I’d been looking for a fun, meaningful team-building exercise for the electric department that would spill over into other departments and yet be a special gift to the residents of Anoka,” he said.
It took a total of about 60 hours to construct the pumpkin, but planning and design required about three times that, according to the city. Local artist Greg Pavlik, who is a master welder, donated many hours to the project, and city employees volunteered their time on lunch breaks and after work.
Anoka Municipal Utility repurposed materials to create the pumpkin. Its ribs were made from reels used to store plastic conduit, and the top hat is a 55-gallon barrel that formerly held waste. The candle, which lights up, is the top of an old street lamp.
“It’s all basically reused,” Geiger said.
The city unveiled the sculpture Oct. 1 in a ceremony outside City Hall, and Anoka Halloween Ambassador Kaitlyn Mateychuk accepted the gift on behalf of the city.
“This truly embodies the Anoka Halloween Capital of the World and the generosity of our community,” she said.
The city plans to place the 8-foot-wide sculpture in the fountain each fall until the Christmas tree is set up. Then the city will move the pumpkin to a park or other “unique location” for public viewing during other seasons.
The city is asking the public to suggest names for the new pumpkin. The top five will be selected and put to public vote. Visit anokamunicipalutility.com for details.