Spooktacular Jack O’ Lantern Festivals

Spooktacular Jack O’ Lantern Festivals

There’s something hauntingly special about seeing pumpkins all lit up. Whether they’re quietly resting on a windowsill or vying for space on a crammed pumpkin patch – a few candles and the night sky make for a truly magnificent glow.

Here are three distinct locations where jack o’ lanterns take the best-in-show:


Historic Hudson Blaze
Four thousand hand-carved jack o’ lanterns and counting over at the historic Hudson Valley’s annual jack o’ lantern blaze. The outdoor walk-through experience has become somewhat of a tradition in New York, complete with music, sound effects and unbelievably talented lighting. You’ll find pumpkins hanging every which way from tree branches and specialty staging areas. Look closely, and you’ll notice individual themes, like the undersea aquarium (see photo by Matt Gillis), dragons, and countless others. The centuries-old homes and darkened woodsy areas add to the rather surreal experience. Go ahead, meander, the event runs October 2nd through November 7th.

Where to stay: The Alexander Hamilton House Bed & Breakfast is located in Croton on the Hudson, the same town as the jack o’ lantern blaze. The romantic Victorian inn is close to many local landmarks, historic sites, hiking trails, wineries and apple orchards. It also offers a spectacular views of the Hudson River. The rooms hold old time charm and modern amenities, such as high speed internet. Some rooms are also equipped with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs.


Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival
More than 5,000 jack-o-lanterns will light the sky in Freeport, Maine on October 30th as retail giant L.L. Bean hosts the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival at its flagship store. The festival, which is open to the public, will help raise funds for Camp Sunshine, a year-round retreat in Casco, Maine, for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. While pumpkin carving of all shapes and sizes will take place throughout the evening, you may also purchase a Glow Heart pumpkin with a heart-shaped carving in honor of a survivor or in memory of a loved one who has lost their life to a life-threatening illness. The festival includes pumpkin carving competitions, pie eating contests, live music, and of course, the official lighting.

Where to stay:
In the heart of quaint Freeport is Captain Briggs House Bed & Breakfast Inn. Just two blocks north of L.L. Bean, the inn sites quietly on a tree-lined side street. Free bird walks on Saturdays, wireless internet, and comfy rooms are just some of the perks at this charming inn.

A five-minute walk from L.L. Bean is a beautifully restored Victorian home called the Brewster House Bed & Breakfast. Furnished in a Queen Anne style with antiques and period colors, the inn’s seven guest rooms include two 2-bedroom suites. A full breakfast is served each morning, including fresh or hot fruit, muffins, scones and home-baked goods. This bed and breakfast is also walking distance to the village, as well as the Freeport Harbor.

Just a two-block stroll along brick-paved sidewalks to L.L. Bean is the White Cedar Inn Bed & Breakfast. This environmentally-conscience inn was awarded the Maine Environmental Leadership Certificate in Green Lodging back in 2007. The inn serves a hearty breakfast each day in its sunroom along with afternoon cookies, brownies and sweets. Complimentary beverages are available throughout the day.

Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular
Every night from October 7th through October 31st, The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island, puts on a breathtaking display of thousands of illuminated jack-o-lanterns – up to 5,000 at a time (up to 10,000 may be used over the course of the show). This year’s theme is “A Walk Through Time.” A team of professional pumpkin carvers will spend weeks creating their orange masterpieces.

Where to stay: If you’re going to visit one of the oldest zoos in the nation, you might as well stay at an inn with a rich history too. The Christopher Dodge House Bed and Breakfast is a stunning three-story brick mansion renovated into a luxury boutique hotel. Built in 1858, architecturally it’s a gem with its 11-foot ceilings, marble fireplace mantels, ornate plaster moldings and many original tin ceilings. It’s also conveniently located within walking distance from downtown Providence.

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