hese adorably spooky coin banks started as a fun experiment for Carl Tuoni, chief pumpkin carver for Peter Pots Pottery. The West Kingston business has been quietly producing stoneware for nearly 70 years from its workshop in the woods, but when Tuoni crafted the first miniature pumpkin and black cat banks a few years ago, they were immediately snapped up. Since then, the small but mighty staff of five has more than quadrupled the number made each year.
“Last year, the entire crop sold out within three minutes when they went live on the website,” says owner Jeffrey Greene, “and the ones reserved for the showroom caused a long line to form at the door until opening time.” Greene remembers the rush of enthusiastic, “pumpkin-hungry” customers now fondly remembered as the Pumpkin Riot of 2019.
The making of these popular Halloween specials begins long before leaves even begin to change. The cat banks, while a Peter Pots staple, only appear in black once a year to play on the spooky season. Stephanie Coffey and Tuoni create and carve the pumpkins, Karina Bay finishes and smooths each, and Justin Boiano applies the glaze – gloss orange or matte green – before firing in the kiln. Finally, Catherine Scott names, photographs, posts, and finds a home for each pumpkin, the exact number of which remains a secret.
While these spooky banks are available for purchase starting October 1 – flickering LED candle light included for an extra eerie effect – Greene warns that they cannot be made after Halloween. “That’s when we need to turn [our] attention on the light-up Christmas trees,” says Greene, “so there won’t be a repeat of last year’s Christmas Tree Frenzy.” He adds slyly, “but that’s a story for another time!” Pick your pumpkin at PeterPots.com.