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Trip Ideas

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.

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Photos courtesy of the Roger Williams Park Zoo

1

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Providence, RI

Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo transforms every autumn as the annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular. This year’s theme is time travel, so guests can expect to find depictions of dinosaurs, ancient civilizations like Egypt and Rome, the history of the Middle Ages, and the discovery of the New World carved into some 5,000 gourds. (Including a handful — last year it was 130 — etched by skilled artisans.) Grab tickets fast, more than 125,000 people visit the quarter-mile display!

Oct. 5 – Nov 5

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2

Autumn at the Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Come fall, Dallas’ Arboretum is covered in oranges, reds and yellows. But we’re not 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_ Wonderful Wizard of Oz _theme— "Pumpkins, Squash and Gourds, Oh My!" Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon out in the crisp fall air, and don't miss reimagined versions of Munchkinland, Emerald City, and Auntie Em's House.

Until Nov. 22

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Photos by Jennifer Mitchell

3

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 hand-carved jack o’lanterns—including a 20-foot in diameter, fully functioning pumpkin carousel. Remember to bring your camera for the perfect pumpkin pic.

September-November

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Pete Berlin (top); Selbe Lynn (bottom)

4

New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, Laconia, NH

This New Hampshire festival is epic — even if it’s only a one-day event. Case in point: it's the nine-time 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. 14

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5

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.

October

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