The Great Pumpkin

The largest of two giant pumpkins grown by the McClain family at their Bellevue home weighs in at 270 lbs. Pictured above with the star pumpkin are, from left, Scott, Stephen and Hailey. The pumpkin was grown from seeds taken from a world-record-setting 1,1818 lb. pumpkin in Canada and carefully tended by Scott and Hailey over the summer.

If you’re trick-or-treating in Bellevue this Halloween and visit a home that has jack-o-lanterns the size of garbage cans, don’t assume that those decorations are store-bought and made of plastic.

If you’re at the McClain home on Sheridan Avenue, those pumpkins will be the real thing, and more than a little effort went into creating these seasonal displays.

The largest pumpkin from the home-grown crop weighs in at 270 lbs., with another still growing in the 150-200 lbs. range.

They started as very special seeds purchased on-line from Howard Dill in Canada, the product of his world-record-setting 1,818 lb. pumpkin. The McClains have been growing pumpkins for the last four years, but their past record was a 65 lb. one that grew last year.

A special father-daughter project for Scott and Hailey (age 10), the plants received special fertilizer and insect removal as they grew over the summer.

This year’s second giant pumpkin was a surprise, says mom Dana. It did not even start growing until August.

The hardest part of turning the fruit of their labor into a stunning fall decoration may have been getting the 270 lb. behemoth from the back yard garden to the front of the house.

“It took a lot of sweat,” says Dana, and about an hour and a half of trying different modes of transportation. Son Stephen (age 14) was drafted to add some muscle.

According to Dana, the family first tried rolling the pumpkin onto a blanket so they would have something easier to grasp when moving it. That didn’t work so well.

They also tried getting the pumpkin into a wheelbarrow, but it flattened the tires.

Finally, they loaded it into their car and drove it around to the front of the house, where they used a plastic sliding board and a dolly to get it out and in place. Scott and Stephen pulled the dolly, while Dana and Hailey pushed from behind.

Don’t be surprised if, next year, there are giant pumpkins all over the area.

“We have quite a few requests for seeds,” Dana says.

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