“This is your last year, right?” Three costumed boys walked by Jane Greengold’s creation: impaled pumpkins atop an old iron fence. Halloween is a tradition in Cobble Hill, and Jane’s 274 spike fence is the talk of the neighborhood. But this is just the beginning. Over the next weeks, these pumpkins will remain in place, allowed to slowly decay. Last year they stayed until Christmas.
104 of the pint-sized jack-o-lanterns were carved by Jane’s family and friends the weekend before the event. The rest came from the community. A mine-craft carving brought later in the evening went over particularly well. Another family came by with a bag-full. Their son must not have been privy to the plan, however, and got upset the second as he watched his parents hand over the bag. One was added to the fence, as the small boy clutched tightly to the rest.
Jane illuminates the pumpkins for one night only, with a string of lights through the back of the pumpkins.
Jane Greengold, a one-time resident of Cobble Hill, started this tradition with friend (and fence-owner) Chip Gray. “I’m not a violent person,” said Jane, “but when I saw this fence, I thought you could impale heads on it.” In 1998, she began impaling carved pumpkins instead. Only more recently did she start accepting community contributions. Today, 104 of the pumpkins were carved by Chip, Jane, and her grandkids. The kids said it wasn’t that hard, although Chip confessed the secret was to copy others’ designs. He suspects he carved about 34 of his own.
While the pumpkins were only illuminated the evening of Halloween, Jane told us the real sight is in the coming weeks, as they slowly decay. In the beginning they only left them up a few weeks. Last year, they stayed through December. And as for Sandy, this didn’t affect things as much as you’d think. Jane told Untapped Cities this is more of a local affair. “I think everyone wanted to get out of the house.” Halloween fell on a Wednesday, just two days after the hurricane, before any subways were running. She did say they had to travel further Upstate to find good carving pumpkins, although that was before the storm hit.
As for the future of the impaled pumpkins? “This is a more residential neighborhood,” she told us. “It will be interesting to see it in a more public setting.” While Cobble Hill has a bit of a reputation for the Halloween spirit, “I think [the holiday] has been growing in popularity all over the city in the past 10 years.” While nothing is confirmed, Jane plans on moving the event to Fort Greene, also in Brooklyn.
You can find this year’s fence at the corner of Kane Street and Strong Place, in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill, and we’ll be back to see the results at the end of the month. See below for more photos:
Friends Jane Greengold (right) and Chip Gray (Left) await trick-or-treaters, along with more pumpkins to be contributed from the community. She hands out only one piece of candy per child. Last year, she had over 1000 trick-or-treaters.
A local resident adds his Minecraft-inspired Jack-o-lantern to the fence.
At times, it’s standing room only as Cobble Hill celebrates Halloween.