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Meet the pumpkin carver: Wilson resident competes on Food Network series Halloween Wars

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com
Left to Right: Team Mummies Rejects Pumpkin Carver Daniel Miller, Cake Maker Helmata Basumatary and Sugar Expert Steve Weiss at work during Episode 1 Small Scare challenge "It Came From the Pumpkin Patch…." as seen on Halloween Wars, Season 10.
Pumpkin carver Daniel Miller along with cake creator Hemu Basu and sugar expert Steve Weiss make up Team Mummies Rejects on Season 10 of Halloween Wars.

Wilson resident Daniel Miller Wilson will be appearing as a contestant in the Food Network series Halloween Wars which premiers tonight. The series, now in its 10th season, pits six teams composed of a pumpkin carver, a cake maker, and a sugar artist against one another in a series of themed challenges. Each week one team is eliminated until the final remaining team is named the winner.

Miller will be the resident pumpkin carver on Team Mummies Rejects. He said rather than actually carving the pumpkins, his work is more similar to sculpting.

“Most of the time I don’t actually penetrate the pumpkins,” Miller said. “I use a lot of wire loops and potter tools, so it’s more like scraping away than it is carving.”

Miller said he is a major fan of the series, and he watches the show every year with his family. He had auditioned for the show several times in the past before being selected to compete this year.

“I had actually tried four or five times, but I was not ready — and I’m not even sure I was auditioning in the right way,” Miller said. “This time, I was following one of the judges on Instagram and she posted they were casting, and they ended up selecting me.”

The show, which films in Los Angeles, was shot earlier this year prior to the coronavirus outbreak, and Miller said the entire experience was amazing.

“The whole experience was really cool,” Miller said. “I guess the level of competition. How many times do you get in a room full of people at the top of their game? You get to see so many different kinds of techniques.”

Miller said he has not seen any of the completed footage other than the commercials currently teasing the new season.

“I don’t know what it’s going to be like (to see myself on TV), but I’m sure I’ll look like big old nerd,” Miller said. “Hearing your own voice on TV is weird. I’ve seen the little teasers and commercials they have on right now, and I heard my myself say ‘that’s nasty.’ You didn’t see me, you just heard my voice but I thought, boy howdy, that’s me!”

The new season of Halloween Wars premiers on the Food Network tonight at 8 p.m., and Miller said viewers will have to watch from week to week to see how far he and his team make it in the competition.

Prior to the premier of the new season the network will run a special episode called The Road to Halloween Wars that will show all of the contestants at their homes.

Miller said a crew flew out to Wilson to shoot footage for the episode.

“They showed up, and I had the yard decorated,” Miller said. “I fed them pulled pork and then we carved some pumpkins.”