NEW PORT RICHEY — If Scott Norman dares you to a pumpkin trivia contest, the best advice might be to politely decline.
In fact, he even wrote a book on the subject, “Pumpkins: A Well Rounded View of the Well Rounded Food.”
Often billed as the Picasso of pumpkin carving, “Stormin” Norman showed the best and safest ways to carve a jack-o’-lantern during a demonstration for youngsters at New Port Richey Public Library.
He also put on shows the past week for youths at Hudson Regional Library and Centennial Park Branch Library.
The most common carving tool Norman uses is a steak knife. He employs the back edge of the knife rather than the sharp edge. He showed the youngsters how to make small gouges in the gourd to minimize the risk of slipping and slashing your hand.
Norman carved while challenging the children with trivia questions.
Pumpkins come in all sizes and colors, the expert noted. Some growers even developed pink pumpkins in recent years.
While pumpkins make great Halloween decorations, dogs and elephants are among animals who love to devour them, Norman said.
The term jack-o’-lantern derives from the legend of Jack in the 14th century trying to make a deal with the devil without the devil tricking him.
The large pumpkin he used in his demonstration contains about 65 seeds, Norman said. In fact, the smaller the pumpkin, the more seeds it will contain.
After he completed his project, Norman turned off the lights and shined a flood light into his pumpkin to reveal an uncanny likeness of cartoon dog Scooby-Doo.
The appreciative tykes oohed and aahed while applauding Norman.