The Dancing Pumpkin Man represents everything good about Halloween. Dressed in a black unitard and a plastic pumpkin mask, he appeared on an Omaha news broadcast to dance, with increasingly ridiculous moves, to the Ghostbusters theme song for an entire minute. Without any concern for how he looked, Dancing Pumpkin Man simply suited up and vibed on seasonal spirits in order to entertain anyone who looked upon him.
He’s a holiday hero and now, at long last, he has decided to speak on what life looks like to a man most famous for being an anonymous, Ray Parker Jr.-loving avatar of Halloween joy.
A profile from Mel Magazine’s Quinn Myers follows Dancing Pumpkin Man from his genesis—a young Second City actor named who Matt Geiler moved to Nebraska to work on an “anything-goes” evening news show—to the eventual fame that comes for all adequately-skilled dancing pumpkins. Geiler, despite having no “training or interest in broadcast journalism” was drawn to the job because it required, as he says, only “a minute-and-a-half of news up front” and then 20 more minutes of TV where the crew did whatever popped into their heads to fill the time.
This format, it turns out, was the perfect creative soil to nourish, grow, and harvest a Dancing Pumpkin Man. Geiler says “there wasn’t much forethought to [the bit] at all.” He requested the song then said he was going to put on the costume “and chew up some television time.” He then danced his famous dance, telling Myers that he employed “spontaneous” dance moves that are “so rhythmically inept that they’re on-beat to everything ever created.” The dance worked because, as Geiler says, “if you’re freeing yourself to the spirit of Halloween, then you’re creating something that can be mashed up with every possible track known to man.”
In 2009, Buzzfeed discovered the clip and it spread across the internet. But Geiler, who had moved to L.A. and was working as an actor, didn’t want to play into his Dancing Pumpkin Man persona, which he knew “would define him.” Eventually, though, in 2016, he gave in to years of requests and appeared on America’s Got Talent to show off his stuff once more.
Geiler thought this TV appearance would mark the end of the Dancing Pumpkin era, but told Myers that, since “every year it comes back,” he’s decided he’s “embracing it” by “licensing his moves and trademarking the character”—becoming, as he says, “an actual Halloween capitalist.”
“So long as I don’t overexpose it and get too crazy with this silly little dance I did to fill time,” he explains, “I think it could continue to keep hitting new heights.”
For more on the man behind the pumpkin, read the rest of the profile.
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