The Kenova Pumpkin House is the main attraction in Kenova's famous Halloween festival, C-K Autumnfest

By Hannah Chubb
September 12, 2019 12:59 PM
Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP

Kenova, West Virginia is a city that takes Halloween very seriously. And their former mayor, Ric Griffith, might be the most committed of all.

Every year, Griffith displays 3,000 carved pumpkins on his Ohio Riverfront property, which has become known across the state — and the country — as the Kenova Pumpkin House. For three weeks every October, his house is a tourist destination, the main attraction in the city’s famous Halloween festival, C-K Autumnfest.

Drawing almost 30,000 visitors every season, the Kenova Pumpkin House has been an institution for almost 30 years. Griffith, who was the city’s major and also owned the local drugstore, unknowingly started the tradition when he began displaying carved pumpkins in front of his store in the 1970s, He started with four but carved more and more every year.

When his family moved to their historic house on Beech Street in 1991, the current site of the Kenova Pumpkin House, he began displaying the pumpkins on the roof, porch and lawn.

Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP

Today, 3,000 pumpkins are displayed for the public, free of charge. The number 3,000 was chosen to represent the population of Kenova, which came in at 3,0007 when last counted in 2017.

Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP

A small, community bordering Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia (which is how it got its name), hundreds of volunteers from Kenova help Griffith make the display happen each year, carving everything from funny faces to cute sayings to local celebrities into the slew of pumpkins.

Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP

This year, the Kenova Pumpkin House will no longer be allowing drive-by viewings — it has become too popular for that, and it would be a safety hazard for pedestrians.

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Regardless, tourists are invited to stop by at their leisure to see the holiday tradition in all its glory. No donations will be accepted, but there will be food vendors out to help turn the spot into a full-on travel destination.