NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - New Providence Centennial Park was entirely transformed Saturday night into a picture-perfect Autumn evening as the first New Providence Pumpkin Carving Contest kicked off it’s inaugural event to a massive crowd of over 500 residents all strolling among the spooky and adorable jack-o’-lanterns showcased around the park.  The smaller jack-o’-lanterns were lined up on stakes made especially for the evening by Mayor Al Morgan, the larger ones were crowded around the trees and around the gazebo. If you were looking for a pumpkin patch with sincerity as far as the eye can see, your search is over. The illuminated jack-o’-lanterns will remain for a week or so for all the residents to enjoy them.

Residents were munching on doughnuts and popcorn and drinking apple cider, all provided by local businesses, as they walked around the park looking at the spectacular entries in the pumpkin-carving contest. Mayor Al Morgan was gazing around the park at the ever growing crowd, “This is unbelievable, it’s so much fun for the kids, this is what small town community is all about. This is why I ran for mayor, so we could do these kinds of things.”  There was also a showing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” for the little ones, who crowded around the gazebo to watch it.

Detective Michael Hand suggested the pumpkin carving contest after he had participated in Cranford’s, he then suggested it to Christine and Al Morgan, “They agreed it would be a great event to have. The PBA decided to host it along with the Lions Club and the Municipal Alliance so we could bring a family friendly fall event to the town for all to enjoy. We couldn’t have done it without their support.” Detective Hand wanted to be sure to thank Municipal Alliance Chairperson and Coordinator, Nora Murphy and Diane Rispoli and the Lions, Al Morgan and John Everett and Christine Morgan. PBA members who helped during the event were Corporal Labaska, Detective Parlapiano and Patrolman Rodriguez.

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Detective Hand and Mayor Morgan were expecting a few dozen entries, but the turnout far exceeded with 78 pumpkins being entered to the contest, “We thought maybe we’d get about 30, there were a lot of conflicting events, but we have great weather and a great turnout,” said Hand. He’s already looking forward to next year, “Next year will be bigger and better with more entertainment, food and activities.”

It takes a village of course, Ricciardi Brothers donated the popcorn machine and the popcorn, Dunkin Donuts donated coffee and doughnuts, Acme donated the cider and Starbucks also donated coffee.

And now for the winners of the first New Providence Carved Pumpkin Contest:

Age group 4-8yrs:

Most Original: #27 Maya&Shalen’s “BB8”

Most Artistic: #75 James Conover’s “Batman”

Funniest: #6 Andre Marques’ “Brain”

Age group 9-12yrs:

Most Original: #26 Sophia Xenakis’s “Yankee Spirit”

Most Artistic: #17 Kaitlyn Hue’s “Grenada the Witch”

Funniest: #48 Katherine Huerfano’s “Minon”

Age group 13-17yrs:

Most Original: #23 CSA Youth  “Turtle-Slow and Steady Wins the Race”

Most Artistic: #47 Sydney & Jason T’s “Pumpkin Monster”

Funniest: #67 Caroline Hall’s “Hungry Pumpkin”

Age group 18-Adult:

Most Original: #18 Kien Hue’s “Bitter Sweet”

Most Artistic: #13 Monica Matlosz’s “Lady Liberty”

Funniest: #5 Jessica Samsel’s “Franken Pumpkin”

Best Businesses Honorable Mentions:

Best Carving: NP FUEL

Best Hair: Feathers!

Best Skin: Luminous MedSpa & Salon for their “Spa Lady”

Best Teeth: Dr. Bob Robinson

Hungriest: Avenue Deli

You can check out the winners and all the rest of the entries in Centennial Park this week, they will be illuminated all night.