The Pumpkin King: Reed man creates spookily realistic Halloween carvings

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

A Reed musician has spent October getting into the spooky spirit by creating unconventional pumpkin carvings.

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

Matt Hayday, 42, has been illuminating his home with carved jack-o-lanterns, adorned with designs inspired by film, television, music and popular culture.

Every day throughout October, Matt has carved a pumpkin, surprising his following he’s amassed over Instagram and YouTube, as well as people in the area.

Stating that he’d carve pumpkins all year round if they were available, Matt does the carving for his own enjoyment, and to bring Halloween cheer to others by displaying them outside his home.

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

“I make them to brighten everyone’s day, because we all need that at the moment. I’ve been looking forward to October for a long time so I can get started,” he said.


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Loving all things spooky, Matt has often taken inspiration from the world of film and TV, with designs inspired Beetlejuice and The Addams Family to name a few.

Inspired by the movies that shaped his childhood, Matt said: “The 80s is the most influential era for me. I’ve been a massive Star Wars nerd my entire life. From the moment I started watching movies, Star Wars was one of the first ones I ever saw, I started collecting all the toys.”

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

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A pumpkin incarnation of Darth Vader sits in Matt’s portfolio, with modern film also taking pride of place, including Sascha Baron-Cohen as Borat.

“My favourite one is one I did last year of Jaws.

“That is by far my favourite one because it was a really intricate design and it came out brilliantly with all the rows of teeth. Also Jaws is my all time favourite movie.”

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

Matt first started pumpkin carving three years ago, and turned to YouTube to learn the tricks of the trade. Along with his daughter, Matt went down to Pearce’s Farm Shop on a hunt for giant pumpkins.

Proud of his early masterpieces, he said: “My first one was a Gremlins one, and my daughter did a Nightmare Before Christmas one.”

“They were really great but then I kind of caught the bug.”

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

Matt said that he finds the carving process therapeutic and enjoys the sense of achievement when the pumpkin is lit up for the first time.

“Along with making these pumpkins is a certain satisfaction when it’s complete,” he continued.

“It takes a lot of patience but when you light up the candle for the first time it’s quite magical, you can really take pride in it.”

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

Once finished, the lanterns are lined up outside Matt’s house, bringing some seasonal spookiness to his community.

Claiming he’s got it down to an art after the years of practice, it takes Matt around an hour or two to complete each design.

“It’s so fun once you get into it and so satisfying when it’s done.

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

“Once you’ve figured out how to do it, the pumpkin thing is easy and anyone can do really amazing looking pumpkins with very little effort,” he adds, encouraging others to take the plunge and get creative.

“It comes like second nature. I love to see other people doing it and making their pumpkins and putting them up online.”

Evident through his pumpkin work, music and film play big roles in Matt’s life.

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday

Matt has carved a marvellous creation every day of October in the run up to Halloween. Picture: Matt Hayday - Credit: Archant

When he is not creating his lantern sensations, he is a singer in heavy metal band Outcryfire and also runs the movie podcast, Straight Outta Popcorn.

Matt’s army of pumpkins are featured on his Instagram (@matt_hayday). For walk-through tutorials, visit The Pumpkin King on Youtube.

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