NEW YORK (AP) – Alexandra Summa, her eyes wide, her mouth open, stared at the 1,502-pound pumpkin in disbelief.

“Is it real?” the 8-year-old asked her mother, Adrian Summa, as they stood in Grand Central Terminal on Sunday afternoon.

It was. In fact, the pumpkin is the world’s heaviest, according to organizers of Halloweekend, a public event at the midtown Manhattan transit hub, where the pumpkin reigned over 1,500 other much smaller pumpkins.

The smaller pumpkins were sold to the public for $5 or $10 each, with proceeds going to the Food Bank For New York City, which feeds the hungry, said Karen Weber, a spokeswoman for Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central, which brought the pumpkins in for the event, bought the big pumpkin from a Rhode Island man for an amount Weber declined to share. The pumpkin was to be donated to the Ulster County Food Bank after the Halloweekend event, she said.

Alexandra’s question – “Is it real?” – seemed to be on everyone’s mind.

“It’s like on Charlie Brown or something,” said David Hershey-Webb, 46, who attended Halloweekend with his wife, Amy, 45, and their 5-year-old daughter, Lilly.

“It’s absolutely amazing,” said Erica James, who was with her 5-year-old son, Sean, who was dressed as a Power Ranger. “I didn’t think it was real.”

As human-operated pumpkin puppets, a ghost bride, devils and other ghoulish characters swarmed through the hundreds of people in the terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, Hugh McMahon used knives to carve the 1,502-pound pumpkin for Halloween.

The 52-year-old has carved pumpkins at the Whitney Museum, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, for Martha Stewart and on “Good Morning America.”

A few years ago, he carved a 1,100-pound pumpkin at Wheatley Plaza in Long Island, and a week ago he sculpted 1,000 pounds of the orange-yellow fruit.

“Ten to 15 years ago, the biggest was 500 pounds,” said McMahon, who was wearing a black and orange sweater featuring pumpkins. “They get bigger and bigger. It’s an amazing thing.”

The 1,502-pound pumpkin, he said, required a 200-watt bulb instead of the typical 60-watt bulb to achieve the right glow for Halloween.

It took two hours to clean the pumpkin, and McMahon estimated it would take him another five to six hours to carve it.

What was McMahon carving into the pumpkin? Fittingly, the face of a gorilla.

“Instead of the 800-pound gorilla,” McMahon said, “it’s the 1,500-pound gorilla.”


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