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Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular is a Rhode Island Halloween tradition

by Samantha Davis-Friedman

While many fall events have been canceled, one beloved Rhode Island tradition is getting a creative makeover to safely celebrate the season. From Oct. 1 through Nov. 1, 2020, a drive-through version of the nationally acclaimed annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, R.I. will allow visitors to see thousands of intricately carved pumpkins from the comfort and safety of their cars.

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Rogers Williams Park Zoo, Providence, Rhode Island, Halloween
Photos by Jacob Friedman and Samantha Davis-Friedman

The spooktacular 25-minute drive along the zoo’s main pathway will immerse guests in Halloween’s sights and sounds as they pass pumpkins of all shapes and sizes – some even weighing as much as 2,000 pounds. According to Corrie Ignagni, manager of digital communications at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of those massive Atlantic Giant pumpkins will be intricately carved to showcase Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legends.

With thousands of lighted jack-o-lanterns hanging from trees, sitting on top of posts, and stacked on the ground, it’s impossible to count them all. Still, it’s estimated that the team of 20 local artists, known as “Passion for Pumpkins,” will turn roughly 20,000 pumpkins into the Halloween masterpieces.

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, Rhode Island

For this year’s theme—“Special Places”—more than 5,000 of the event’s pumpkins will be carved with images of local and global destinations that were out of reach for most travelers this year. Guests will be surprised to find out which destinations will be next to the elephants, giraffes, and zebras.

Plus, last year’s event featured jack-o-lanterns carved with images of popular Marvel superheroes like the Hulk, Black Panther, and Iron Man, so you never know who you’ll see.

“There is nothing better than Autumn in New England and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo is a highlight of the season,” says Kristen Adamo, Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau president & CEO. “Like most events, things are a little different this year. You will still see exquisitely carved pumpkins by the hundreds, but it will be from the comfort and safety of your own car.”

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, Rhode Island, Halloween

The trail will be open nightly from 6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., rain or shine. Tickets are available online only for $50 per car ($45 for current zoo members).

“Guests can expect dazzling lights, intricately carved pumpkins, interactive Halloween and special theme displays, and jack-o-lanterns as far as the eye can see, ” Ignagni says. “But the experience begins as soon as visitors enter our parking lot where delicious fall treats and drinks will be served right to their vehicle before hopping on the pumpkin trail.”

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular 2019
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