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Spook-tacular Tim Burton-inspired pumpkin and squash mosaic sets world record

A Southampton-based farm has become a Guinness World Record holder for a “spook-tacular” Tim Burton-inspired mosaic, made from more than 10,000 pumpkins and squashes.

Sunnyfields Farm received a completely new record for the largest Cucurbita mosaic on October 18, which depicts Jack Skellington’s famous moonlight stance from Burton’s stop-motion animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The farm is owned by the Nelson family – which is made up of husband and wife Ian, 59, and Louise, 60, and their 33-year-old son Tom, all of whom serve as directors.

People holding a certificate
The Nelson family receiving their Guinness World Records certificate (Guinness World Records/PA)

Tom Nelson told the PA news agency he was “very surprised and very pleased” when he and his family found out they had become record holders.

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“We host The Great Pumpkin Time Weigh-Off each year at the farm, which is always on the second Saturday of October, and there’s often someone that gets a world record for the largest ever fruit/pumpkin,” he said.

“We always see people get world records, but we didn’t think we would get one ourselves.

“We weren’t intentionally doing it to get the record as each year, we build a big display, but we realised it would qualify and went for it.”

To achieve the record, the mosaic had to be over 100 square metres, with the finished product being “just shy” of 200 square metres.

The title comes from the fact that the squashes and pumpkins involved in the design are all part of the Cucurbita family.

Mosaic on the ground
The mosaic is made up of different pumpkin and squash varieties (Guinness World Records/PA)

The striking Halloween-inspired image is made up of more than 10,000 pumpkins and squashes, required meticulous planning, and took around five hours for Mr Nelson and a team of nine others to place the pumpkins and squashes in the right places.

Mr Nelson said that even though squashes and pumpkins come in a variety of different colours, the colour palette the team had to work with was “limited”.

“Orange had to be a good majority of it,” he explained.

“We tried to use a large amount of the Crown Prince squash, which is blue, so was good in terms of colour contrast with the orange.

“We used Ghost pumpkins, which are white, for the moon, and Gem Rolet squash, which I think is a staple food in South Africa – and that is very dark green and in a cricket ball shape, so is very good for doing the outlines.”

As for why this particular movie was chosen as inspiration, Mr Nelson said he turned to social media to see what ideas people had – something the farm does regularly when it creates large scenes.

Past mosaics include Paddington Bear, which was made in honour of the late Queen, and a Cinderella carriage.

“We try and do something linked to national pride,” he said.

“The top one this year was actually the Lionesses and we tried different designs, but we struggled to make it work.

“The second top idea was The Nightmare Before Christmas and because this year marked the 30th anniversary of the Tim Burton movie, we felt it was something to celebrate.”

People standing next to mosaic on the ground
The trickiest part of the mosaic was the spiral (Guinness World Records)

Mr Nelson said the spiral element was “very difficult”.

“The size of each pumpkin is like a pixel,” he said.

“You may add a pumpkin in and find it is too big, so would have to swap it out for a smaller one.”

He added that as the family are the first to achieve this record, it will be “interesting to see if anyone else tries to top us next year.”

Adam Milward, managing editor of Guinness World Records, said: “This is always a busy time of year for fruit and veg records at Guinness World Records.

“Indeed, just last week we had the privilege of recognising a new heaviest pumpkin.

“It can sometimes be easy to get wrapped up entirely in the biggest produce, but what Sunnyfields Farm has proven in their Halloween-themed gourd display is that when horticultural prowess is combined with a little creative flair, it’s possible to reap some truly spook-tacular results.”