A Spectacular Spooktacular… The Jack-o-Lantern Show of Providence, Rhode Island

Imagine 5,000 pumpkins at one show. This photo provides an idea of what the Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular held annually in Providence, Rhode Island is like. Over the next seven days, I will feature pumpkins from the show as I do a count-down to Halloween.


Our son Tony and daughter-in-law Cammie had sent us photos last year of the pumpkin carving show in Providence, Rhode Island at the Roger Williams Park Zoo. And we had been impressed. It included some 5,000 carved pumpkins. They were everywhere— along the trails, out in small lakes, and up in trees. They ranged in size from small fellows that would easily fit into the palm of one hand up to gigantic guys that would require several grunting weight-lifters working together to pick up. And what a job of carving! While most were traditional, as those featured above, others were works of art.

This year, we were visiting Tony, Cammie and our grandsons at the time of the show and the kids were eager for us to go. They knew that we had hosted family pumpkin carving contests for over 20 years, that we loved to get up to our elbows in pumpkin seeds, and that we had a box full of carving tools. They also knew that I loved everything pumpkin: pumpkin pies, pumpkin scones, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies— you name it!

There was no hesitation on our part and the show was everything we hoped for— and more. Over the next seven days, I will feature pumpkins from the show. It was definitely a Spectacular Spooktacular. Happy Halloween!

Laughing skeletons welcomed us to the show.

Pumpkins ranged from this spectacular Saber Toothed tiger…

Fiery pumpkin at Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular in Providence

To this more traditional carving.

Dinosaur pumpkin at Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular in Providence

The art-carved pumpkins were divided into themes starting with dinosaurs..

Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular dinosaur series

Dinosaur series at Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular

This winking, toothy character caught my attention…

As did this goofy skull.

My partners on the pumpkin path… Our son Tony, Peggy, and grandsons Cooper, Chris and Connor. Tony’s wife, Cammie, was visiting with her dad in South Carolina.

NEXT POST: We will journey off to Egypt and meet a scary mummy.







39 thoughts on “A Spectacular Spooktacular… The Jack-o-Lantern Show of Providence, Rhode Island

    • Thanks, Bill. Shooting pumpkins has always been a challenge, but the low-light capabilities of modern cameras has made a huge difference. I found the same thing taking night photos at Burning Man. I was certainly kept busy as we made our way through the 5,000 pumpkins. –Curt

  1. These pumpkins are fantastic beyond belief. I just don’t understand how people can not only create an image but then carve into a vegetable. But I’m glad they do. What fun to be at this festival with your family. And you’re right, it’s one I would love!!!

  2. Pumpkins are great but the history of Halloween is very sick and disturbing and I find it hard to understand the celebration of evil practices. God bless all x

  3. Halloween has become a big event here as well. Shops are full of all sorts of paraphernalia . I just hope the kids know what it is all about. Anyway, it will result in an orgy of sugar and sweets being consumed. I have my celery sticks ready all chilled in a nice stainless steel bucket.

  4. I love Halloween, and I love jack-o-lanterns — and I love that tight, interlaced connection with All Hallow’s Eve and All Souls Day. Our commercialization has diluted the festival’s nature, and torn it from its roots, but the combination of those leering faces and cheerful, toothy grins gets it just right. I would have loved to have been there — but I’m certainly passing on the information to a friend who lives in Connecticut. It’s probably closer from her house to this event than it is from Houston to Dallas. (Actually, it’s half the distance; I just looked it up.)

    • One of the things that I quickly learned about New England is that nothing is very far from anything, Linda, a concept that is hard to imagine for us folks who have lived in places like Texas, Alaska and California. It took us all of an hour to drive up from where Tony and Cammie live in Central Connecticut to Providence. It takes us approximately 6 times that to drive down and visit our family in Sacramento, a trip we do so often that we look on as a commute.
      The interweaving that takes place between myths and legends and our modern religions and customs has always fascinated me. How we both adopt and adapt.
      Much of Halloween was lost to me between my candy gathering phase as a child and middle age. But when Peggy came into my life and we started our family pumpkin carving contests, it all came back. –Curt

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