Fun Fall Festivals
Celebrate the season with jack-o’-lantern displays, pumpkin-pie-eating contests, and more
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Croton-on-Hudson, NY • September 28–November 24
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 8
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; mainepumpkinfest.com.
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival
Laconia, NH • October 12–13
While a 34-foot-tall tower of blazing carved pumpkins is this year’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 17–20
Now in its 115th year, this blowout boasts floats and marching bands, midway rides, and a Giant Pumpkin Weigh-In (last year’s winner hit 1,701 pounds!); pumpkinshow.com.
Franklin, TN • October 27
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.