Sugar Skull, Minions And More: Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Pumpkin-Carving Contest Returns

Botanical Garden Pumpkin Carving contest
Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Great Pumpkin-Carving Contest had jack-o-lantern entries ranging from spooky to whimsical. CREDIT LAUREN BOOKER

The Halloween spirit was celebrated with creativity during Atlanta Botanical Garden’s yearly live pumpkin-carving contest Thursday.

During this year’s competition, six teams — Longleaf, Amp’d Entertainment Team 1, Amp’d Entertainment Team 2, The American Hotel, A Pinch Bakery and Gathering Industries — competed to win the grand prize of a hotel stay at the Loews Hotel.

With only 30 minutes to spare, the groups gutted, painted and sculpted their pumpkins at their work stations in the center of Atlanta Botanical Garden’s lawn. Then a crowd of around 100 attendees cast their votes by sounding off who their winner is.

The third-place winner was A Pinch Bakery’s pumpkin that donned a flower crown and was inspired by sugar skulls.

Atlanta Botanical Garden pumpkin carving contest
Colorful decorations were added to this pumpkin that placed third in the contest. (Photo credit: Lauren Booker)

Second place went to Longleaf’s pumpkin that was turned black to give off “Nightmare Before Christmas” vibes.

Atlanta Botanical Garden pumpkin carving contest
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” inspired this pumpkin carving created by Longleaf during the contest. (Photo credit: Lauren Booker)

Amber West, with Gathering Industries, a nonprofit serving homeless populations, helped lead the team to victory by carving a glowing, grimacing pumpkin that appears to be getting eaten by smaller “minion” pumpkins.

Atlanta Botanical Garden pumpkin carving contest
The winning jack-o-lantern was crafted by Gathering Industries. (Photo credit: Lauren Booker)

West said the third time was the charm for her since she was a runner-up in the competition four years ago.

“It feels good. I’ve gotten second place every time I competed,” West said.

It’s also been four years since she’s carved a pumpkin.

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