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Johnson's Pumpkin Lady - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Johnson's Pumpkin Lady

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JOHNSON, Vt. -

Drips of rain to trick-or-treaters is like garlic to vampires.

But this wet weather isn't ruining one woman's Halloween spirit.  Meet Polly Lehouillier -- better known as The Pumpkin Lady. She carves in her kitchen with the Foote Brook Farm stand in Johnson out her window. She opened the stand over 20 years ago -- soon after, Jack-o-lanterns came with the territory.

"This would keep me awake while I was waiting for the next customer to come," said Lehouillier working on a pumpkin.

And even though she sold the stand to her son, the Pumpkin Lady has a reputation to maintain -- hundreds of hand-carved pumpkins lit up on Halloween night.

Reporter Gina Bullard: Why do you still do it?

Polly Lehouillier: People kind of expect it. They call and ask are you having your pumpkins this year?

Patterns make carving quicker. "This is the only way I'd get as many done as I do," she said.

The scooping and sawing begins two weeks before the 31st.  Any gourds that can't make it to the holiday go to a special place -- the pumpkin graveyard.

The Pumpkin Lady will start setting out all 140 of her creations along route 16 on Halloween morning and of course they'll all be lit up by nightfall. From simple faces to intricate designs, each pumpkin can take anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour.  And there's only one way to make sure they'll look good at night. "To tell better, I bring him into the bathroom and light him up where its dark," she said.

If you haven't noticed, the pumpkin lady is serious. She hasn't missed a Halloween in over 20 years, even at the expense of her nieces wedding last year, to keep up with her pumpkin carving quota. "It started out as a thank you for all the customers, now it's just something I like to do," she said.

Reporter Gina Bullard: Now they're thanking you.

Polly Lehouillier: That's true.

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