Wielding a primitive-looking scalpel, Jason Fritz, dressed in a blood-splattered physician’s scrub suit, helped 5-year-old Elden Waite carve a pumpkin.

Jason, calling himself Dr. Fritz, snagged the Halloween get-up at a costume exchange during Saturday’s Pumpkin-Phest in Pilot Rock. The torn shirt revealed a gashed chest.

“I was performing surgery,” said Jason, 12, staying in character. 

The would-be doctor said he decided to give Elden a hand.

“I just like to help kids and he looked like he needed help. He could end up looking like me,” Jason said, pointing to the gory mess on his chest.

Pilot Rock residents didn’t let a little rain dampen their spirits — they merely moved the event from the town’s Community Garden to the Pilot Rock Community Center.

Mayor Virginia Carnes said other than hayrides, the event continued as planned.

“There’s very few things going on any more as far as Halloween,” she said “We’re just getting people together to have fun.”

Fun indeed.

With pumpkins as the central focus of the festival, several activities featured the popular Halloween gourds. Stations gave opportunities to carve and paint pumpkins, as well as color activity sheets. 

Elliot Waite could barely see over the top of the table. However, with determined concentration, the 2-year-old applied blue paint to his pumpkin. As time went on, Elliot began to resemble his once orange gourd — sporting blue paint on his face and hands.

Lane Glidewell shaped pipe cleaners to give his gourd big ears and a beard.

“There’s lots to do here and it get me in the mood for Halloween,” Lane said. 

He plans to don a “Scream” mask and wear a scarecrow outfit.

Justin Willingham, Timber Fritz and Hattie Thompson, all 13-year-olds, and 14-year-old Ashley Pappas talked about looking forward to Halloween while carving their pumpkins.

“It’s fun dressing up, plus you get to hang out with friends,” Timber said. “You’re never too old to trick-or-treat.”

“And candy,” Justin said. “You get candy.”

In addition, Carnes manned the treat table as people entered the community center, which was covered in samples for the pumpkin-inspired baking contest. Plans are in the works to develop a recipe booklet so people can create the savory masterpieces at home.

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