The Halloween icon has arrived. Tom Hanks briefly dropped by Saturday Night Live this weekend as the spookiest man in town, David S. Pumpkins.
But who is David S. Pumpkins, anyway? He’s the brainchild of SNL head writer Streeter Seidell, SNL alum Bobby Moynihan, and cast member Mikey Day, who created the character leading up to Tom Hanks hosting the late-night sketch program on October 22, 2016. In an interview with Vulture, the trio shared that they were initially just looking for a break from the 2016 election. “We were happy to not write a political sketch,” said Seidell. They came up with the sketch “Haunted Elevator (ft. David S. Pumpkins)” which took place on a Tower of Terror-esque ride where a decidedly un-terrifying and non-well-known character played by Hanks would greet the riders.
“I think names and suits are funny,” Day said. “Normal names in insane situations and dumb suits are funny. So, I just remember thinking, David Pumpkins. He’s got pumpkins on his suit.” Mystery and confusion were baked into the DNA of David S. Pumpkins. “He’s not part of the known Halloween universe, but he’s acting like he is,” said Seidell. Pumpkins was so elusive that even Hanks was still figuring him out during the episode’s dress rehearsal. “I don’t quite know who this guy is yet, but I’m gonna get it,” Seidell recalled Hanks saying. “Gentlemen, I swear I will figure out who this David Pumpkins is by the time it’s on television.”
And by Jove did he figure it out. The final product involved Hanks in his pumpkin suit, flanked by two dancing skeletwins played by Day and Moynihan. David S. Pumpkins, his two-finger point, and his dance moves delighted viewers so much so that Hanks’s fictional character became an instant icon and an actual Halloween costume. David S. Pumpkins made such a splash that the following year NBC released The David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special, a 30-minute animated comedy special devoted to all things Pumpkins related, featuring Hanks, Day, Moynihan, Cecily Strong, and Peter Dinklage.
Pumpkins and his skeletwins made their grand return to SNL over the weekend for an episode with host and musical guest Jack Harlow. In the sketch, Harlow along with SNL cast members Ego Nwodim and Andrew Dismukes, attend a prison-themed haunted house. In the cells, familiar horror film characters like Freddy Kreuger, Michael Myers, and Annabelle appear, only to be outshone by David S. Pumpkins, his ’80s sitcom backing track, and his dancing fingers. Is David S. Pumpkins affiliated with any known horror film or even scary in any way whatsoever? No. But his killer dance moves and deranged smile make him truly unforgettable.
This outing, we learned a little bit more about the enigmatic Pumpkins, most notably that he’s from Ibiza. “He’s from Spain? He doesn’t even have an accent,” bemoaned Dismukes’s character. “He said he was from there. Doesn’t mean he grew up there. Let him write his own story,” responded Harlow. So, now we know that Pumpkins is an incredible dancer, the “S” is for Simon, and that he’s from Ibiza. Preguntas?