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Missouri Pumpkin Carver Earns Fame and Fortune

$50,000 Prize goes to THS Math Instructor's Brother

Carvings from MB Creative Studio

Sugar Geek Show

Seira Murray, Graphic Design Editor

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Thayer High School math instructor, Mr. Lucas Brown, has a set of twin brothers. One of the twins has appeared on a Food Network show, “Halloween Wars.” It’s a reality competition featuring six teams who battle it out to make scary culinary creations. Each year the winning team captures a prize of $50,000. This year, Mike Brown was on that winning team. See the spookiest winning displays from “Halloween Wars” that Brown’s team had to compete against and meet the red-eyed monster, which earned Team Ghoul’d  its spectacular win.

Photo by Zach Hahn

Brown said he fell into the highly fall-oriented realm of professional pumpkin-carving about five years ago. He and his twin, Matt Brown, own MB Creative Studio based in Springfield, MO. Matt and Michael Brown began getting artistic with their jack-o-lanterns about six years ago. Brown said it takes anywhere from five to eight hours to carve a pumpkin.

After his work began making itself known on the internet, Food Network contacted Brown and asked him to send an audition video. “I was contacted by a casting producer from Food Network last year and they asked me to submit an audition video for the show. I had watched the show for several years and I was completely surprised they reached out to me,” Brown said.

Students at THS were not surprised when they saw the pumpkin creations on Brown’s web page. “That is just incredible and requires some skill and talent,” said Jalen Andrews, THS Senior.

The show is called “Halloween Wars” and this is the 7th season it has been on air. It is a competition based show where six teams compete for a chance to win $50,000. Brown said that each week there are two challenges, one a 45 minute challenge and a 5 hour challenge. Each week one team is eliminated and the rest of the teams advance to the next round. “Each team comprises a baker, a sugar artist and a pumpkin-carver. The competition was tough,” Brown said.

“I think it’s something you go into knowing that they pick the best artists in the country for this,” Brown said.  His team members were not people he already knew. The Food Network matched him with a French pastry chef, Christophe Rull, who brings the sugar skills, and a cake artist, Liz Marek. They selected their team name – Team Ghoul’d.

Brown said he respects Marek and Rull because they make a full-time living from their profession. For him, pumpkin-carving is seasonal. “I’m a GIS Analyst for a utility company, but I also have a residential design and décor company that I run with my wife and MB Creative Studio for the pumpkin and other carvings I run with my twin brother,” Brown said.

Brown said being on the show has opened some doors and led to “a lot of good relationships.” For example, Marek, his cake-artist teammate, “is trying to get me into the more cake side of things, to do more sculptural things and teach classes.”

Pumpkin-carving artist Michael Brown also got an early Halloween treat from Instagram on Monday. Administrators of the social networking app, made for sharing photos and videos, shared one of Brown’s creations on the official Instagram account. Within two hours, the photo had more than 260,000 likes and nearly 1,800 comments.

A news article from  the Springfield News-Leader shared the Instagram success story. “This is awesome! I am totally jealous,” Instagram user Maureen Wilson wrote. “I’ve carved a lot of pumpkins but yours is a whole new level.”

Within one hour of Instagram sharing the photo Brown said his personal Instagram page got about 2,000 new followers. Brown said, “It took several days to get approval from Food Network to allow my work to be featured on Instagram.”

And as a bonus Halloween treat — worth $50,000 in prize money — Brown’s team won “Halloween Wars” on Sunday night’s episode.

Brown and his twin, Matt Brown, own MB Creative Studio in Springfield. The brothers spend each fall visiting pumpkin patches and sculpture contests all over the Midwest. “I would say I am addicted. I usually don’t sculpt anything other than pumpkins, so when pumpkins are in season I try to sculpt as many as I can before they are gone for the year,” Brown commented. 

 

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Missouri Pumpkin Carver Earns Fame and Fortune