Frankenstein Returns (as a pumpkin)!


It’s the time of year when the ghouls and ghosts come out to play – and this year they are joined by a new pal, “Pumpkinstein!” It’s October and Frankenstein is back, but this time he is in the shape of a pumpkin. Scared?

Taking a page from the square-shaped watermelons produced in Japan, an organic farm in California is growing pumpkins in patented plastic molds that give the pumpkins the recognizable face of Frankenstein. The unusual shape has become a Halloween success for the grower; he sold out the 5,500 head crop months ago to wholesalers at $75 per pumpkin head.

It was not an easy or quick path to a successful product; it took 27 varieties of pumpkin and roughly $400,000 before finding the right approach to making the monster shape. Also produced by the farm is cube-shaped and heart-shaped watermelons, sold for $40 each, and branded melons with letters perfectly pressed into the rind. The pumpkinsteins will retail for $100 and more as the Halloween holiday has become a $7 billion annual business with candy, decorations, and costumes.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss spending and products sold for Halloween. What do students spend money on?
  2. Next, discuss innovative products and show the pumpkinstein photos and videos:

Link to photos:

Web site:

CNBC video:

  1. Discuss the challenges of creating a new product: pricing, promotion, distribution, etc.
  2. Why has this product become a success, despite the high price tag?
  3. As a bonus, also show the video of the Japanese square watermelons:

Source: New York Times

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