Peninsula resident turns ordinary pumpkins into monstrous art on Food Network show | News

Peninsula resident turns ordinary pumpkins into monstrous art on Food Network show | News
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As power drills buzzed in the background, pulverized rind and pulp flew through the air and frantic contestants desperately searched for lost tools. Palo Alto resident Leigh Henderson, a finalist on season three of “Outrageous Pumpkins,” a pumpkin carving competition show on the Food Network, calmly carried on with her work, transforming a massively lopsided pumpkin into a fiendish ghost story. “Not super-fast, (but) super-precise,” she said, wielding her favorite sculpting tool, an X-acto knife.

Competing against six other contestants for the title of “Outrageous Pumpkin Champion,” Henderson attributed her flair for storytelling and structure — or building things that defy gravity — to her professional training as a theater set designer.

“I think about the whole scene,” Henderson said. “What’s the scene I’m trying to set? Not just what I want it to look like. It’s the same way in theater. When you’re designing a set, you’re thinking not only about what you want it to look like…

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