America’s Coolest Pumpkin Festivals
It’s finally fall, people! And you know what that means: cozy sweaters, apple picking, and pumpkin-spice everything. Read on for the best autumn activities happening now.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Providence, RI
Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo transforms every autumn at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, a seasonal art show that features over 5,000 intricately-carved, illuminated pumpkins. This year’s theme is "Seasonal Wonderland," so guests can expect to find depictions of fairy tales, wizards, and super heroes carved into the gourds along with themed activities on special event nights. You'll want to get there early—more than 115,000 people visit the quarter-mile display each year, so it's sure to bring in the crowds once again.
Oct. 3 – Nov. 3, 2019
Autumn at the Arboretum, Dallas, TX
Come fall, Dallas’ Arboretum is covered in oranges, reds and yellows—but we’re not just talking about the foliage. More than 90,000 pumpkins, squash, and gourds decorate the pathways, huts, and gardens at the Pumpkin Village. This year, the arboretum has gone all out with a Peter Pan theme titled "It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon out in the crisp fall air, and don't miss creative creations like Snoopy and Woodstock topiaries on top of his doghouse, Lucy's advice booth, Schroeder at his topiary piano, and—yes—a Great Pumpkin.
Through October 31, 2019
Blaze, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Hudson Valley isn't a newcomer to Halloween festivities (just ask Sleepy Hollow), and while it’s always worth a day trip to see the spooky decorations, we recommend going at night for Blaze. The 18th-century Van Cortlandt Manor and its sprawling grounds are covered in more than 7,000 professionally hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns—including a massive pumpkin carousel and windmill. Remember to bring your camera for the perfect pumpkin photo op.
Through Nov. 30, 2019
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, Laconia, NH
This New Hampshire festival is epic—even if it’s only a one-weekend event. Case in point: it's the Guinness World Record champ for the most lit jack-o’-lanterns (30,581, to be exact). Color us impressed. You can also stroll through the food and craft fair for homemade, pumpkin-inspired treats and wares, or try your hand at pumpkin bowling before grabbing a pint at the beer garden.
Oct. 16-17, 2019
Spirit of Halloweentown, St. Helens, OR
It’s not All Hallow’s Eve without watching your favorite fall flicks (looking at you, Hocus Pocus), but it’s even cooler when one of your childhood classics comes to life—witches, goblins, and skeletons included. In St. Helens, the 1998 Disney Channel movie Halloweentown is reenacted in a month-long festival. Keep your eye out for some of the original cast (spotted: Kimberly J. Brown, who plays the main character, Marnie) as you dance at the masquerade ball, take a haunted tractor ride, and watch the giant pumpkin lighting.
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