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Cottage Grove family invites public to Halloween pumpkin display

Ryan Bertram with 12-month-old son Bentley in front of the family's carved pumpkin display outside their home at 8897 Hadley Avenue. The public is invited to visit the display between dusk and 10 p.m. through Halloween. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente1 / 3
A zombie face carved in a pumpkin at the Bertram family's display at 8897 Hadley Ave. in Cottage Grove.2 / 3
A carved pumpkin in a display outside the Bertram home at 8897 Hadley Ave. in Cottage Grove.3 / 3

Ryan and Tami Bertram don't get many trick-or-treaters at their Hadley Avenue home, but they've still got plenty of people stopping by the house for Halloween.

The Bertrams - Ryan, Tami and Ryan's siblings Cole and Tara and other family members -- spent the better part of three days carving 59 pumpkins. Ryan displayed them in his front yard at 8897 Hadley Avenue just in time for Halloween on Wednesday. They invite people to stop and check out the display in the evenings from dusk until about 10 p.m.

Not content with candle-lit pumpkins, Ryan rigged the pumpkins with modified Christmas lights and set the lighting display to Halloween-themed music.

It's their third-annual Halloween pumpkin display. The first year, they carved about 38 pumpkins. Last year it was 40.

This year they picked over 110 pumpkins from a farm in Wyoming, Minn. They tossed them in a trailer and brought them back to Cottage Grove.

"That was a lot of work," Tami said.

The Bertrams carved Saturday night, Sunday and into Monday. It took Ryan 2 1/2 hours to set them up in the yard on Monday. Nearly half the pumpkins couldn't be carved because they had already rotted.

The carved pumpkins have not been vandalized, but to deter any would-be pumpkin smashers Ryan installed a motion-triggered camera more commonly used by hunters.

They started with 59 carved pumpkins but by Tuesday afternoon they were down to 58.

"Squirrels are the biggest problem," Ryan said.

The Bertrams skip the fancy carving tools and instead rely on simple plastic carving tools. They use patterns from a carving book. One particularly intricate pattern took two hours to carve. There are ghosts, zombies, spooky faces and big grins.

"Not one pattern is the same," Tami said. "They're all different."

The Bertrams hope the display leads to additional trick-or-treaters in their neighborhood.

"I wish there was more," Ryan said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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