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McCarthy, Taylor families hold annual pumpkin carving contest

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BRASHER FALLS - Trick-or-treaters visiting Kelly McCarthy’s parent’s home on the Buckton Road tonight will not only receive a Halloween treat, they’ll also be asked to judge what has become an annual family tradition - a pumpkin carving contest.

Ms. McCarthy, St. Lawrence Central High School secretary, said they recently held their 13th annual McCarthy and Taylor pumpkin carving get-together at her parent’s home, and 16 pumpkins will be on display tonight so trick-or-treaters can select their favorite pumpkin as they’re making their rounds.

“We started it as just a few of us. As the family kept growing, we just all get together and carve them. It’s kind of become a family competition,” she said. “We couldn’t do it last year. My father had a stroke two weeks before Halloween. It was the first year we haven’t had a big competition. It was nice to get back into our tradition (this year).”

Ms. McCarthy said her brother and sister-in-law grow some of the pumpkins used for the competition, while others are purchased in Massena. Once they have their pumpkins, it’s time to carve, and they had 12 family members participating in this year’s competition.

“We always meet up at my parents and carve over there. From start to finish when you’re cleaning it out to carving it, it could be anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half depending on the time you take to put into it,” she said.

Their carving styles vary from person to person, according to Ms. McCarthy.

“Some are freehand, some we buy the booklets and we cut them out. Some do one, some do two or three. We have an adult and the kids, and we try to break it down. This year the kids did so well that they’re kind of mixed in with all the adults. They did an awesome job this year,” she said.

Tonight those entries will be judged by visitors to the Buckton Road home.

“We get some of our neighbors that don’t have kids who trick or treat anymore who still stop by and vote,” Ms. McCarthy said.

When the night is over, one of the family members is crowned the champion of the year, earning a small pumpkin trophy.

“They get bragging rights for the year,” Ms. McCarthy said. “We look forward to it.”

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