Davington Drive in Dublin, Ohio, is typically a serene residential street adorned with trees and well-maintained houses. However, this fall, one house stands out as it resonates with Taylor Swift’s music and features an almost 400-pound pumpkin sculpture resembling the singer herself, complete with hair made from nine wigs and ears crafted from painted sweet potatoes. The pumpkin has been aptly named “Taylor SwiftKin.”

Who is Jeanette Paras?

Jeanette Paras, affectionately known as the “crazy pumpkin lady,” embarked on her journey of carving celebrity likenesses from pumpkins in 1988. Her very first creations were modest in size, resembling the presidential candidates of the time, George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis. “Just 100 or so pounds,” Paras reminisced.

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Since that time, Paras has annually undertaken the task of “pumpkinizing” a notable figure. This year, she chose Taylor Swift as the subject for her gargantuan pumpkin endeavor. She also crafted a smaller, 20-pound gourd to represent Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, the Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end.

The selection of Taylor Swift was rooted in the singer’s immense popularity and the cultural impact she has had. Paras explained, “Her concert tour! Her merchandising. She was just the head of the pack for the pumpkin.”

In fact, Taylor Swift has a known affinity for pumpkins and autumn. Her song “The Best Day” (Taylor’s Version) features lyrics about spending time with her father, including a visit to a pumpkin patch. The song is part of her “Fearless” album.

Beyond being a whimsical display, Taylor SwiftKin carries a meaningful cause. Paras is a two-time breast cancer “thriver,” and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She has partnered with the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at the Ohio State University, pledging to match the first $2,500 donated to the fund.

Taylor SwiftKin, weighing in at 399 pounds, is a substantial artistic feat. However, it’s not the largest pumpkin that Paras has adorned. In 2021, “Ted LassoKin” tipped the scales at 705 pounds, and it remains the most massive pumpkin she’s displayed on her porch. Notably, in 2009, a colossal 1,197-pound pumpkin portraying “Carol” from “Where the Wild Things Are” graced the porch of then-Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

Taylor SwiftKin features an illumination system for night-time viewing, and security cameras are directed towards the pumpkin to ensure its protection.

The creative process involves sketching a likeness, selecting the ideal pumpkin, and then meticulously matching the sketch to the pumpkin’s shape and size. Finally, it is painted and adorned with accessories such as hair and clothing. Taylor SwiftKin boasts a slightly concave face, and Paras incorporated hair to counterbalance the pumpkin’s roundness.

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Paras’s past creations have garnered international attention. “PumKim Jon Un,” a likeness of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, received widespread media coverage. “James CordKin,” an homage to late-night host James Corden, was discussed for two minutes on a national TV show. Even “Trumpkin,” a portrayal of former President Donald Trump that Paras fashioned in 2015, drew national media attention.

Paras doesn’t cultivate the pumpkins herself; she collaborates with local growers. Jason Johnson and Kurt Rossbach, both residents of Dublin, were responsible for growing the Taylor SwiftKin pumpkin. This feat involves using the right seeds, considerable patience, regular watering, and diligent monitoring.