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Orange Firefighters Ignite Blaze of Jack-O-Lanterns With First Pumpkin Carving Contest

By DOUG FENICHEL, Correspondent | October 19, 2020 | CONNECTICUT

Story No. 101920109

ORANGE, Conn. – As fears of COVID-19 extinguish enthusiasm for traditional trick or treating, firefighters with the Orange Volunteer Fire Department and members of the OVFD Auxiliary are coming to the rescue with a pumpkin-carving contest for all ages.

“We were looking for something safe for kids to do around Halloween,” said Firefighter Rob Panapada, who created and chairs the event. “Jack-O-Lanterns are such a part of Halloween, but without kids walking around, who’s going to see them? This was a way to show them off.”

Firefighters, in a poster, say they “are just dying to see your best effort” at creating Jack-O-Lanterns. They promise “spook-tacular” prizes for winners in three categories. Pumpkins are to be dropped off at the fire station at 625 Orange Center Road from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 27. They’ll be on display in front of the fire house from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 27, 28 and 29. At 8 p.m. on Oct. 30, an independent team of judges will pick best.

Contestants will compete in one of four categories: 5 years old to 8 years old, 9 to 12, 13 to 16 and older than 16, which the department has named professionals. In addition to the best, awards will be given for the most original, the happiest and the scariest in each category plus there will be a best in show.

In addition to carving pumpkins, contestants in the 5- to 8-year-old category can decorate their pumpkins with paint or markers instead of carving and using candles.

“Neighbors helping neighbors can mean a lot more than just going to fires,” said Chief Vaughan Dumas. “It can mean just helping our community have fun in tough times. The town has been so supportive of us during this public health emergency, this is a way of giving back.”

There are no entry fees. More information about the contest is available by calling (203) 641-3775.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.