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Thursday, November 3

Staff at Zoo Atlanta have a unique annual Halloween tradition sponsored by Georgia AAZK. The local chapter of AAZK, or the American Association of Zoo Keepers, is a membership association for animal care professionals like zookeepers. They help to advance excellence in the animal care profession. Members host the annual pumpkin carving and chili sale to support keeper-driven continuing education and conservation projects. Staff from all departments come together for lunch but also the entertainment of watching as pumpkins are carved, painted, dremmeled, feathered, and decorated with a variety of items and even extra gourds. Teams are composed of no more than four people. Anything goes with this pumpkin decoration contest. Judges have to decide from the various creative pumpkins if they are the ‘Best All Around’ or the ‘Most Animal Like.’ In past years, some pumpkins have involved sound or lights. This year staff from the Education Department created ET as the ‘Best All Around’ winner. The Bird Department had ‘Best Animal Like’ with their canary pumpkin. Of course, the winners get a huge bucket of candy.


Christina Lavallee
Lead Keeper, Program Animals

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