Dozens of children tip-toed through a pumpkin patch Sunday on the grounds of St. Paul's Episcopal Church searching for the perfect orange autumn orb to paint or carve at the parish's annual "Pumpkin Carving Fun" event.

People paid $10 each for the pumpkins and the opportunity to decorate it or have it cleaned, gutted, designed and carved by a team of people who made quick work of the stenciled designs using jigsaws to follow the perforated outlines of grimacing, ghoulish and guffawing pumpkin faces.

The team of carvers finished off the process by massaging WD-40 onto the pumpkin shells, ensuring those who took them home for display on their stoops, porches and stone walls through Halloween that the oily substance would repel pesky squirrels and insects.

Julianne Stirling, the event chairwoman, said they went through about 30 pumpkins per hour, equaling sales and carving of about 120 pumpkins.

"We just kept carving," said Debby DeRose, secretary of the Old Post Road Area Association, which jointly hosted the event with the church.

"It's fun. You get to pick out the guts and the guts are messy and I like getting messy. That's the best part," said Noah Sullivan, 7, of Fairfield, who came to the event with his dad Terry Sullivan and sister Miranda, 5.

"We did this last year. It's a perfect day for this," Terry Sullivan said.

The event also featured a cast of scary characters in the church basement, which was transformed into a Haunted Jail by youth group members.

"It really is a historic site. That's why it is the Haunted Jail," said volunteer Marjorie Morresi, who was dressed as and identified herself as "an official witch."

Aidan Pryor, 15, of Easton, said the Haunted Jail took people through the prison experience from sentencing to execution in a variety of levels from ratings of "G to Triple R," from simply being locked in stocks to being chased by a chain saw-wielding maniac, depending on the age of the visitor. Some kids took turns hiding in a coffin and jumping out at unsuspecting people as they walked through the jail, said Emily Erickson, 11, of Fairfield.

"The scariest part was the Triple R, and the Haunted Jail had a Glow in the Dark light," said Lauren Littig, 10, of Fairfield.

"I think people enjoyed the Haunted Jail and carving the pumpkins, and they could take the seeds home and bake them. It was tons of fun activities for lots of different ages," said Emma Littig, 11, of Fairfield, who dressed up in costume as a Gothic Princess Kate Middleton.

"I liked painting the pumpkin because I like to decorate and make cool designs," said Maya Chiravuri, 6, of Bridgeport.

Outside, in the church courtyard, people got to decorate a tree with toilet paper, paying a dollar per roll to take multiple tosses. Garrett Schmidt, 6, of Bridgeport, found a more creative use for the TP, having his mom Melissa Schmidt wrap him in it mummy-style.

Proceeds will help beautify and preserve the Old Post Road neighborhood and will also support activities of the St. Paul's Church youth group.