The Pumpkin House is a Victorian-era home in Kenova, West Virginia. It is most famous for its display of thousands of carved illuminated pumpkins every Halloween. This tradition began with current owner Ric Griffith, who along with volunteers carves some 3,000 pumpkins for the spectacle. The Pumpkin House is the centerpiece of the annual C-K Autumnfest and draws 20,000-30,000 visitors each year. The attraction has received national recognition and has been featured on several television programs in recent years.
The Pumpkin House was originally known as the Joseph Miller House, named after the original owner. Barboursville native Joseph S. Miller was the Cabell County Circuit Clerk and later State Auditor, before being appointed Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service during the Grover Cleveland administration. He later moved to Kenova, where he was instrumental in bringing the N&W railroad to the town. Miller also served as president of the National Bank of Kenova. In 1891 he constructed his Queen Anne Victorian home on Beech Street, facing the rail line. It is said that Grover Cleveland once stayed at the house while visiting the area. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Local pharmacist and former Kenova mayor Ric Griffith bought the property from state senator Bob Plymale in 1991. Griffith and his family soon began carving large amounts of pumpkins to display outside with the number growing each year, from 500 to 1,000 and eventually 2,000 pumpkins in the year 2000. In recent years the number has been capped at around 3,000. Griffith obtains all of his pumpkins from a single farm in Proctorville, Ohio. The entire process of gutting, carving, and lighting pumpkins is a weeks-long project that requires thousands of man hours and many volunteers. Besides the many organizations that come to carve the pumpkins, there are electricians for the lights and carpenters for the shelves all being organized by Mr. Griffith.
The Pumpkin House is the main attraction at the C-K Autumnfest, a festival started in 2010 for the Ceredo and Kenova area. People have come from every state and even other countries to see the elaborate decorations. The display includes a small replica of Noah’s ark and a wall of pumpkins with instruments carved on them, with each pumpkin programmed to light up when synced with symphony music. In 2016 the display also featured pumpkin effigies of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on a debate stage. There are also many vendors set up on the street, offering foods made with pumpkin and traditional carnival fare. The Pumpkin House has been featured nationally on HGTV, The Today Show, Ellen DeGeneres, and CBS.