With one slip of a knife a carver was born. And thanks to that “mistake,” fun faces carved on pumpkins by Maple City’s Pat Harrison have entertained people for years. Pat calls himself the Lord of the Gourd—a fun play on words that describes his Northern Michigan pumpkin art.

Every fall he live-action carves pumpkins, squash, and various vegetables across Michigan at libraries, cider mills, farmers markets, and festivals. His audiences range from young to old in the time building up to Halloween.

“I’m like a rock star for two months,” Pat says as he describes his calendar. “I’ve only been home a day and a half the last three weeks.”

So far this season, he’s carved over 400 pumpkins. He expects to hit 500 by the end of October.

Pat encourages others to try the carving craft at home. “My whole secret I tell people is just make it up. Don’t try to make it look like anything,” he explains. “It’s not going to look like you want it to.”

“I’m basically doodling,” he adds with a laugh.

If you’d like to try carving your own pumpkin at home, Pat recommends cleaning out your junk drawer. X-Acto, paring, and pen knives work well. Then he says, “Just let the pumpkin tell you what to do. Use your imagination.”

Want to see the Lord of the Gourd in action and see how a pro handles pumpkins? Here’s Pat’s upcoming show schedule:

Thursday, October 22: Traverse Area District Library from 4 to 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 24: Riverwalk Place’s “Jeep Creep” event in Gladwin from 12 to 5 p.m.
Sunday, October 25: Robinette’s Cider Mill in Grand Rapids from 12 to 5 p.m.
Monday, October 26: Cadillac Wexford Public Library in Cadillac from 3 to 7 p.m.
Tuesday, October 27: Bay Ridge Assisted Living Center in Traverse City from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 28: Kingsley Public Library from 2 to 5 p.m.
Thursday, October 29: Fife Lake Public Library from 3 to 5 p.m.

Learn more about the Lord of the Gourd’s Northern Michigan pumpkin carving via his Facebook page.

More Northern Michigan Halloween

Photo(s) by Annette Kingsburry