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9 Illuminating Jack-o'-Lantern Festivals to Visit This October

Haunted houses aren't for everyone; jack-o'-lantern festivals are a less frightening and more artistic alternative for your family's Halloween entertainment. Spellbinding displays of glowing gourds have sprung up all over the country, offering an interactive and engaging substitute for the standard ghouls and gore. This October, bundle up and head out to these popular evening events, each showcasing hundreds—or even thousands—of pleasingly illuminated pumpkins.

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The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze, Croton-on-Hudson, New York

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Tom Nycz/The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze

More than 7,000 individually hand-carved, illuminated jack-o'-lanterns cover the grounds of an 18th-century riverside historic site. The elaborate outdoor walk-through experience, complete with atmospheric music, sound effects and professional lighting, connects a series of themed vignettes. You'll find pumpkins hanging from tree limbs, perched on rooftops and staged as an undersea aquarium as well as a mammoth exhibition of mummies with a pyramid. The centuries-old stone manor house, brick ferry house and heritage garden add to the other-worldly atmosphere. September 30 to November 13; visit HudsonValley.org for more information.Photo: courtesy of Tom Nycz for Historic Hudson Valley

Jack-o'-Lantern Spectacular, Providence, Rhode Island

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Every October, the Roger Williams Park Zoo transforms its wetlands trail by lining it with 5,000 glowing pumpkins. Over 30 professional carvers spend six weeks creating the jack-o'-lanterns to fit themed groupings, all brought to life with special lighting and music. More than 80,000 visitors from across New England are expected for this year's show, "A Walk Through Time." Scenes will include The Jurassic Era, The Dawn of Man, The Renaissance, The Growth of Democracy, The Wild West and The 20th Century. October 6 to November 6; visit RWPZoo.org for more information.Photo: courtesy of Bill Gallery for the Roger Williams Park Zoo

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Pony Express Pumpkinfest, St. Joseph, Missouri

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This weekend-long festival takes place at a former stop along the Pony Express, now a museum honoring the horseback mail delivery system of the 1850s. Live entertainment highlights the site's history, with a Pony Express reenactment and a "Shadows of the Old West" show. Storytellers, magicians, crafts, a costume parade, petting zoo and pony rides round out the day. The headlining event is the lighting of Pumpkin Mountain, when nearly 1,000 hand-carved jack-o'-lanterns, stacked over 25 high, come to life with a click of a switch. October 7-9; visit PonyExpress.org for more information.Photo: courtesy of the Pony Express National Museum

Hallowe'en in Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan

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The eerie sights and sounds of a turn-of-the-century Halloween set the scene in this living history section of The Henry Ford entertainment center. Visitors are invited to come in costume and follow a path of 800 hand-carved jack-o'-lanterns, which light the way and are grouped in dramatic displays. Actors in period clothing and costumes act out several vignettes throughout the trail, complete with a "headless" horseman riding a real horse. Treat bags are provided, and can be filled at 11 themed stations throughout Greenfield Village. October 14-16, 20-23, and 27-30; visit TheHenryFord.org for more information.Photo: courtesy of Michelle Andonian Photography

New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, Laconia, New Hampshire

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Last year, the Keene Pumpkin Festival, widely regarded as the granddaddy of jack-o'-lantern events, morphed into two events, the Monadnock Pumpkin Festival in Swanzey, NH and the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia, NH. The celebration in Laconia will include 20,000 pumpkins, entertainment, rides, a costume parade, and a beer garden. October 22; visit NHPumpkinFestival.com for more information.Photo: courtesy of J.W. Ocker via OddThingsIveSeen.com

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival, Highwood, Illinois

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The city of Highwood is ready to make pumpkin-carving history this fall as they also attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most jack-o'-lanterns lit in one location. Everyone is welcome to include their own carved creations into the winning total. The three-day festival includes pumpkin pie cooking and eating contests, the Pumpkin Fest Parade and a giant pumpkin regatta, featuring pumpkin flotillas on Lake Michigan. The event culminates on Saturday evening with the anticipated lighting of 32,000 jack-o'-lanterns. October 7-9; visit CelebrateHighwood.com for more information.Photo: courtesy of Rosa D. Stefani

Great Pumpkin Fest, Worcester, Massachusetts

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The largest family Halloween celebration in central Massachusetts is geared toward kids 10 and under, and is held on the grounds of the EcoTarium, a popular children's science and nature museum. Local youth groups carve about 1,000 pumpkins for the after-dark display. The day includes rides on the Explorer Express train, games, animal encounters, carving demonstrations, hayrides and crafts. Guests can also enjoy the museum's indoor "Secrets of the Forest" or "Water Planet" exhibits, or catch a show at the Alden Digital Planetarium. Children, adults and even museum staff often come dressed in costume. October 22; visit EcoTarium.org for more information.Photo: courtesy of the EcoTarium

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Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest, Key Largo, Florida

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Landlubbers shouldn't have all the Halloween fun. Scuba divers get their own jack-o'-lantern event each year beneath the sea at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Divers descend to the sandy bottom, where they're issued a pumpkin and knife. Individuals and teams carve their creations underwater, competing for the coveted carver's crown. The pumpkins are then brought to the surface, judged and displayed all day for the public to enjoy. October 8; visit Amoray.com for more information.Photo: courtesy of Amoray Dive Resort

Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival, Maine and Massachusetts

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In 2006, Camp Sunshine set the world record in Boston for the most lit jack-o'-lanterns in one place with 30,128 pumpkins. Since 2003, the event has raised over million for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. This year there are three festivals, in Weston, MA, Mansfield, MA, and Freeport, ME.






Video: The Great Jack O'Lantern BLAZE Halloween Attraction - Walkthrough - Sleepy Hollow, Hudson Valley

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Date: 13.12.2018, 05:57 / Views: 55141