Halloween season is here, and you know what that means —pumpkins galore! But forget your run-of-the-mill jack-o’-lanterns because Jeanette Paras, the pumpkin virtuoso from Dublin, is back with another celebrity-inspired masterpiece. This year, the honor goes to none other than the pop sensation herself, Taylor Swift.
Jeanette Paras has been in the giant pumpkin game for 35 years, and her latest creation, the “Taylor Swiftkin,” is making headlines as it tips the scales at a hefty 399 pounds.
The story behind the Taylor Swiftkin takes a delightful twist, as it was grown by two co-workers, Jason Johnson and Kurt Rossbach of OCLC, who apparently decided to turn pumpkin growing into their new, fun pastime. Move over, pumpkin spice lattes; there’s a new obsession in town!
When asked about her choice of Taylor Swift as the subject, Jeanette Paras explained, “With so much going on in the news today, much of it disturbing, Taylor SwiftKin stood out. I considered ‘pumpkinizing’ others, but Taylor is a bright star in today’s pop culture.”
And let’s not forget that romantic link to two-time Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce; that certainly adds an extra layer of intrigue. As Paras herself likes to say, “I don’t make the news; I pumpkinize it.”
But the Taylor Swiftkin isn’t the only celeb-themed pumpkin in her portfolio. Paras has a knack for turning larger-than-life personalities into larger-than-life pumpkins, with her creations typically ranging from 200 to 400 pounds. In 2021, she brought us “Ted LassoKin,” inspired by the popular television show, which weighed in at a whopping 705 pounds. That’s one TV show that really knows how to score a pumpkin-sized touchdown!
Now, you might be wondering how Jeanette Paras manages to keep her subjects under wraps until the big reveal each year. Well, it’s top-secret stuff. She goes to great lengths, even covering the windows of her studio/garage to keep her artistic secrets safe.
According to Paras, the true test is when she cracks up because of one of her pumpkins, that’s when she knows she’s picked the right subject. Her passion for this unique Halloween tradition shines through, and it’s a joy for her to see the reactions of her neighbors and passersby who stop by to snap pictures.
But there’s more to these pumpkins than just fun and games. Jeanette Paras is also using her works of art to raise money for breast cancer awareness. She’s partnered with the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at the Ohio State University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC).
If you want to pitch in for a great cause, head over to www.give.osu.edu/ParasPumpkins. Paras even plans to match the first $2,500 in donations dollar-for-dollar, proving that her big heart is as impressive as her big pumpkins.