Fun Fall Festivals
Celebrate the season with jack-o’-lantern displays, pumpkin-pie-eating contests, and more
Dates are updated for 2019
The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze
Croton-on-Hudson, NY • September 20–November 30
Synchronized lighting, spooky sound effects, and upwards of 10,000 hand-carved, illuminated jack-o'-lanterns transform a historic Hudson River Valley estate into a Halloween spectacle (shown); hudsonvalley.org.
Damariscotta, ME • October 14
At this enthusiastically wacky small-town event, competitors race across Damariscotta Harbor in boats made from enormous hollowed-out Atlantic Giant pumpkins, all grown locally by volunteers. Pumpkin-theme events run all week before the big race, which takes place on Columbus Day each year; mainepumpkinfest.com.
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival
Laconia, NH • October 18–19
While a multi-story tower of blazing carved pumpkins is this event's claim to fame, there are also horse-drawn hayrides, pumpkin bowling, and more than 50 food vendors proffering everything from pumpkin pancakes to pumpkin ale; nhpumpkinfestival.com.
Circleville Pumpkin Show
Circleville, OH • October 16–19
Now in its 116th year, this blowout boasts floats and marching bands, midway rides, and a Giant Pumpkin Weigh-In (the 2017 winner hit 1,701 pounds!). It always takes place from the third Wednesday through Saturday in October; pumpkinshow.com.
Franklin, TN • October 26
By day, enjoy treats like extreme-pumpkin-carving demos and costume contests. After dark, go for a guided tour of the town's historic cemeteries; williamsonheritage.org.