Sunday, March 25, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

10 Best Jack O Lantern Displays

Pumpkin carving has transformed from a simple children’s activity to an elaborate art form. The amazing skill of professional artists and amateur enthusiasts will astound you when their creations bring imagination to life for these Halloween celebrations.

For a quick view of some stunning pumpkin artwork, check out this slideshow of the most amazing carved pumpkins. These are not your everyday jack-o-lanterns.

Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze Croton-on-Hudson, NY

From The Headless Horseman to dinosaurs to a Circus Train to a working grandfather clock, this event is the one to beat! Set beside the Van Cortlandt Manor’s 18th-century buildings and riverside landscape, the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze gives visitors the chance to stroll along the Pumpkin Promenade and across the Pumpkin Zee Bridge. Over 7000 pumpkins hand-carved by artisans make this an unparalleled glowing spectacle.

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Louisville, KY

This illuminated organic art show stretches along a 1/4 mile walk in Iroquois Park. A pirate ship, Chinese dragon, and more displays are accompanied by theme music to make the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular a fantastic family destination. Over 5000 pumpkins adorn the trail with proceeds benefitting the Louisville Parks Foundation.

RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns

Pop culture meets Halloween tradition at the RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns. Featuring superheroes, iconic movie characters, and animals rather than scary scenes, the RISE is completely family friendly.

Over 150 master pumpkin carvers work on these events, re-carving over 5000 fresh pumpkins every weekend. Live carving exhibitions let visitors see how much skill and hard work goes into carving and assembling these masterpieces.

The RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns is being held indoors at the Meadowlands Exposition Center. This is the first year that this event is being held in New Jersey. Other venues include New York, Los Angeles, and Boston.

New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, Laconia NH

Starting more than 25 years ago as a small local festival, the NH Pumpkin Festival has grown to an event that features over 20,000 contestants vying for the title of “Best Jack-o-Lantern. All of the completed pumpkins are displayed on a huge pumpkin tower. The festival is officially applying for a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for largest display of lit pumpkins.

This year’s event is expected to draw over 40,000 visitors and includes food, vendors, a 5k race, children’s activities and live bands and performers.

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest, IL

Each year, this event attempts to set a new record for most pumpkins lit at the same time. To achieve this, the organizers are encouraging visitors to bring BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin). Those dropping off pumpkins receive a free admission pass to the Highwood Pumpkin Festival, which features all you can carve pumpkins, costume contests, hay rides, carnival games and rides, and more. The festival has teamed with Make a Wish Illinois with the goal of making 100 children’s wishes come true.
pumpkin carving

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta, Damariscotta, ME

This homegrown celebration begins with volunteer growers planting seedlings in May for the jumbo pumpkins that will be the stars of the show in October. Local Maine artists compete in carving and painting almost 100 of the giant pumpkins, which can range in size from 200-1200 pounds. Larger specimens of these Atlantic Giant pumpkins are used in the Pumpkinboat Regatta and Pumpkinboat polo events and are dropped 180 feet from a crane onto donated junk vehicles in the Giant Pumpkin Drop. In true green fashion, the smashed pumpkin is sent to local farms as pig feed and the vehicles are recycled.

Need some more inspiration for your own pumpkin masterpieces? Here’s a great slideshow of some of our favorite amazing jack-o-lanterns.

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