Record-Breaking Largest Pumpkin in America Being Carved Into the World’s Largest Jack-O-Lantern

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Tim Kitchen/Getty Images)

The largest pumpkin in America, a 2,560-pound gourd from Minnesota, is being carved into the largest Jack-O-Lantern in the world. The pumpkin itself is named Maverick, in honor of Tom Cruise’s character from “Top Gun.” Earlier this month, Maverick won the World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, California. By doing that, it broke the US record for pumpkin size.

Travis Gienger grew the massive pumpkin in Anoka, Minnesota, where artists carved it on Friday, Oct. 28. The organization Anoka Halloween is carving the pumpkin in the shape of an eagle. The carving took place outside of Anoka City Hall. The city also bills itself as the Halloween Capital of the World. It’s fitting that America’s heaviest pumpkin comes from there. You hear that, Salem? Anoka is coming for you.

“This is good to bring the recognition to growing giant pumpkins, which brings recognition to Halloween, which Anoka is all about,” said Jeremy McFarland of Anoka Halloween.

Of growing Maverick, farmer Travis Gienger told KMSP out of Minneapolis, “In Minnesota, you know weather goes from 40 degrees to 90 degrees. But to do it this year was pretty special.”

Maverick began as a seed in April of this year, and many Anoka residents doubted the pumpkin would make it. “The reason why we named it Maverick,” Gienger explained, “on Day Five, I dropped that five-gallon bucket on it, and that’s where all the scars came from. And it just came back better than ever.”

“It’s like literally the Great Pumpkin,” said Anoka resident Mark Marlovits outside of City Hall. “Halloween’s my favorite holiday and it’s nice to know that there’s a town in the Midwest that sort of has Halloween every day all year long, and it is kind of significant that the greatest pumpkin ever was grown here in Anoka.”

Minnesota Man With American’s Heaviest Pumpkin Talks About the Process

Travis Gienger spoke about what it was like to have America’s heaviest pumpkin earlier this month. he discussed the weather in Anoka, Minnesota, and how Maverick just shouldn’t have made it.

“Minnesota has a great midyear, but our spring in our parts is really, really tough. So to do it in Minnesota, it just shouldn’t happen,” Gienger explained. “It’s like winning the Tour de France on a big wheel. You know, you can only hope, but it worked.”

But, Maverick persevered and survived, growing to astronomical size. Gienger then had to drive the gargantuan gourd 35 hours to California for the contest. “You think driving in a snowstorm is bad?” said Gienger. “Try driving one of these things.”

The previous pumpkin record was a 2,554-pounder from New York. Maverick, however, beat that record by 6 pounds, coming in at a whopping 2,560 pounds. Similarly, a man in Illinois broke a state record with his front porch pumpkin.