Wicked! York’s pumpkin carver supplies West End show

The first pumpkin for the Wicked musical, ready for delivery. Photographs: Pump'kd
8 Oct 2013 @ 8.33 am
| Business
The first pumpkin for the Wicked musical, ready for delivery. Photographs: Pump'kd
The first pumpkin for the Wicked musical, ready for delivery. Photographs: Pump’kd

grace-clarke-bylineThe man who can pimp your pumpkin has gone into showbusiness. Grace Clarke caught up with him


Halloween is coming up, which means it’s time for my yearly coffee with pumpkin carving extraordinaire, Dave Turner. A chance to reflect on how far we have progressed in the last 12 months.

Needless to say, it’s always a tragically depressing day for me. I’m serving tea to the wealthy and privileged in Bettys, while he’s carving pumpkins and redesigning beer gardens. Somebody pass me the gin.

I’m working my way through what can only be described as a bucket of coffee – CafĂ© Concerto’s finest, if you must know – while he excitedly tells me that Wicked The Musical have just ordered 42 pumpkins.

They found Dave via the simple technique of a Google search, and asked for their consignment of pumpkins to be sprayed in the show’s trademark “witch green”, with the logo etched in.

“They want them hand delivering, thank god I know a man with a van!” said Dave. I absolutely love a musical, so, in my eyes at least, this is truly the big time.

Considering that two years ago he was just carving pumpkins for his friends, and last year one of his biggest orders was for a mate’s Halloween party, he’s really stepped it up.

“The goal is to make 100 orders this year, and so far we’ve got 80. It’s amazing. We only had 25 last year.” One of those was from Surrey-based theme park Thorpe Park, where Dave also carved a staggering three turnips. “It’s an old English tradition… and pumpkins were in really short supply last year.”

What a carve up. Dave at Thorpe Park
What a carve up. Dave at Thorpe Park
Adding more terror to a rollercoaster ride at the theme park
Adding more terror to a rollercoaster ride at the theme park

Born and raised in Whitby, Dave graduated in design from York St John University. He set up Scruffy Dog Design in 2011, which was rebranded as Turner And Son this year.

The company undertakes a range of commissions, from redesigning asthma inhalers to creating a beer garden for Gibson’s on Micklegate out of abandoned pallets.

His pumpkin carving business Pump’kd is becoming a seasonal speciality, even earning him an appearance on the One Show in 2011.

This year Wicked might be dragging him into Southern climes, but he’s a Yorkshire lad at heart, so most of his time will be spent working with local businesses like Waitrose, Novotel, and Gibson’s again.

He’s been so inundated with pumpkin orders this year that he’s had to employ a team. “I’ve got my neighbour, Jackie, on board. That doesn’t mean I won’t be working through the night on some of the orders though.”

He’s got more willpower than me. I barely even make it to the end of Downton Abbey these days.

As well as all of this, he’s ordered 200 pumpkins for his Pumpkin Parade at York St John University, which takes place all day on Halloween.

“It’s really just a chance for people to get a good pumpkin last minute. We’ll have all sizes, including jumbo ones, which are expected to sell out really quickly.

“They won’t be carved, but we’ll be selling our stencils for people to get a great design at home.” I remember many a depressing pumpkin-less Halloween of my youth, all because my Mum “forgot” it was halloween. Yeah right, Mum, you sent me to school dressed as a witch this morning how could you forget?!