10 Jack-o’-Lantern Festivals You Have to See to Believe
As soon as Halloween season rolls around, everybody heads to one of two places — a haunted house or a pumpkin patch. We have to admit, we’re guilty of frequenting them both. But after so many spooky seasons, we’re starting to crave some variety. The good news is we found a hybrid of both — a jack-o’-lantern festival. Well, actually, we found ten of them. Head over to any one of these impressive events, and you’ll spot anywhere from 1,000 to 30,000 glowing jack-o’-lanterns. These glowing pumpkins paint an eerie picture, like something straight out of a horror movie, but we weirdly can’t stop wishing we were there.
1. The Great Jack o’ Lantern Blaze (Croton-on-Hudson, New York): Over 5,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack-o’-lanterns are spookily and artfully arranged around an 18th-century riverside historic site. The elaborate outdoor walk-through experience comes complete with atmospheric music, sound effects and professional lighting, and it runs October 2 to November 7. (via Hudson Valley)
2. The Jack o’ Lantern Spectacular (Providence, Rhode Island): Every Halloween season, the Roger Williams Park Zoo transforms its wetlands trail in a spooky display of 5,000 glowing pumpkins. Over 30 professional carvers (that’s a job?) spend six weeks creating the jack-o’-lanterns, which are each placed in grouped themes. This year’s theme is “Jack-O-Lanterns from A to Z.” Intricate pumpkin art will be organized in alphabetical order, with highlights from history and pop culture. Spot these pretty pumpkins between October 2 and November 2. (via Roger Williams Park Zoo, image via Beaumont Enterprise)
3. Pony Express Pumpkin Fest (St. Joseph, Missouri): This weekend-long festival takes place at a former stop along the Pony Express, which is now a museum. Head over early for a day of live entertainment, a children’s costume parade, festival rides, games, crafts and food. When the sun goes down, stick around for the headlining event — the lighting of Pumpkin Mountain. Nearly 1,000 hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns are stacked over 25 feet high and come to life with the click of a switch. This annual festival is set to take place October 10-12. (via Pony Express)
4. Hallowe’en in Greenfield Village (Dearborn, Michigan): For this eerie event, make way to the living history section of The Henry Ford entertainment center. Take a stroll down streets and alleys covered in over 1,000 carved jack-o’-lanterns. Actors in period clothing and costumes act out several vignettes throughout the trail, complete with a “headless” horseman riding a real horse. Head over for the mile-long walk on October 10-12, 17-19 or 24-26. (via The Henry Ford, image via Michigan)
5. Keene Pumpkin Festival (Keene, New Hampshire): A pumpkin festival to top all pumpkin festivals, this event has been an annual treat for over 20 years. The world record for the number of jack-o’-lanterns lit at one event has been broken here eight times. Last year they broke the record again, reaching 30,581 pumpkins. That’s a whole lot of gourds. See the sight for yourself on October 18th. (via Pumpkin Festival, image via Sentinel Source)
6. Highwood Pumpkin Fest (Highwood, Illnois): The city of Highwood also attempts to break world records at their annual festival for the most jack-o’-lanterns lit in one location. This year the festival has partnered with the Autism Society of Illinois. The hope is to carve and light 52,000 pumpkins this year to represent the number of individuals impacted by autism in Illinois. This festival will take place October 17-19. (via Highwood Pumpkin Fest, image via 3us)
7. Great Pumpkin Fest (Worcester, Massachusetts): Local youth groups carve about 1,500 pumpkins for the after-dark display held on the grounds of the EcoTarium, a popular children’s science and nature museum. This event, geared towards kids ten and under, comes complete with full admission to the museum, a pumpkin carving demo, a digital planetarium show and trick-or-treating. Head over on October 25 to take part in the festivities. (via EcoTarium, image via Woman’s Day)
8. Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival: (Weston, MA and Freeport, ME): This event is happening in two locations! The first is set to take place at Weston Town Green in Massachusetts on October 18, where there will be live music, a silent auction, tasty treats and kids’ games. The second will be at L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Maine, where guests can enjoy live tunes, tasty treats, games and a costume parade. This festival no longer holds the record for most lit jack-o’-lanterns in one place, but you’re still likely to find over 10,000, and that’s not too shabby. The event is ultimately a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. (via Camp Sunshine, image via Woman’s Day)
9. Rise of the Jack o’ Lanterns (Los Angeles, CA and Long Island, NY): More than 5,000 hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns created by professional artists and sculptors are arranged in artful displays throughout a quarter-mile scenic trail. Throughout the multi-sensory walk, visitors will see a re-creation of the New York City skyline, favorite sports and TV stars, a giant graveyard made of jack-o’-lanterns and a prehistoric arrangement of life-sized dinosaurs. This event takes place in LA from October 3 to November 2 and in Long Island, NY from October 16 to November 2. (via The Rise, image via Flickr)
10. Glow Night (Bluemont, Virginia): During the day, Great Country Farms has got a whole bunch of pumpkin-themed festivities. At 7:30 pm, nearly 2,000 jack-o’-lanterns, created by local students, are lit up. There is a competition for “Best in Glow,” scariest and funniest. Afterwards, the orange fruits are used for Pumpkin Chunkin’ Week, when they’re dropped from a 40-foot lift in an upside down “fireworks display.” This festival is occurring from September 27 through October 31. (via Great Country Farms, image via Lessburg Today)
Do any of these festival interest you? If you’re headed to any, please send us some pics! We’d love to see.