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Not Your Neighborhood Halloween Display
Celebrate Halloween to the extreme at the Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. See the amazing pumpkin carvings on display beginning October 5 through November 5, 2017. You'll visit with dinosaurs, explore the ice age, and take a look into the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Rome.
Imagine the history of our planet recreated in more than five thousand carved pumpkins. Stroll through a Halloween dreamland filled with musical effects, shadowy trees, watery reflections, billowy fog, and thousands of unblinking pairs of glowing eyeballs.Continue to 2 of 18 below.
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For Linus and Sally, waiting in a sincere pumpkin patch may never result in a visit from the Great Pumpkin. For the Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular's founders, however, 1988's display of 185 jack-o-lanterns on a hillside behind a school led to something huge.Continue to 3 of 18 below.
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Visitors to the zoo sometimes wait up to two hours on busy nights to reach the Wetlands Trail, which is the scene of the Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular. When you see the first impressive carvings, you'll understand why the line moves slowly. Dress warmly and bring a camera.Continue to 4 of 18 below.
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Creatures of the Night
Most of the 5,000 jack-o'-lanterns on display at the Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular are illuminated from within by battery-powered lights. Only a few are actually lit with candles.Continue to 5 of 18 below.
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How Long Do They Last?
Not long enough. During the Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular's 25-day 2010 run, 10,000 pumpkins were carved, so each design needed to be created two times on average.Continue to 6 of 18 below.
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Jack-o'-lanterns are sprayed with a bleach solution to prolong their life, but these organic canvases are destined to perish. This "Lost World" pumpkin -- surrounded by jack-o'-lanterns on the water and on land -- refers to something entirely different, however.Continue to 7 of 18 below.
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"A Walk in Time" was the theme of the 2010 Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular, and after the Charlie Brown and creature carvings, visitors heard loud rustling noises in the trees and saw jack-o'-lanterns carved into dinosaurs. The upcoming 2017 Spectacular will feature a dinosaur theme.Continue to 8 of 18 below.
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Next Stop: Africa
Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular often includes pumpkin displays of animal carvings. But note the zoo is closed -- these orange animals are the only ones the kids are likely to see.Continue to 9 of 18 below.
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Primates Can't Carve
Gorillas may have opposable thumbs, but only humans can carve amazing jack-o'-lanterns. Nearly 200 of the 5,000 carved pumpkins on display are this ornate, and even the simpler pumpkin faces are creative and fun.Continue to 10 of 18 below.
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The Dawn of Man
Man's evolution is depicted on this pumpkin. The man responsible for the Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular's evolution is Oxford, Massachusetts, postal carrier John Reckner, who organized the first Spectacular in 1988 and still supervises carving efforts.Continue to 11 of 18 below.
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Note the incredible detail in this Mona Lisa pumpkin carving. It's painstaking work for the team of professional pumpkin carvers to etch the complex, layered designs into each pumpkin's skin and flesh.Continue to 12 of 18 below.
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Works of Art
The pumpkins are works of art themselves, created by pumpkin carvers whose medium in the fall happens to be pumpkins.Continue to 13 of 18 below.
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Passion for Pumpkins
Founder John Reckner, members of his family, and a posse of jack-o'-lantern artists who have joined the pumpkin-carving crew over the years call themselves Passion for Pumpkins. It's an apt name for a group whose obvious love for this event shines through.Continue to 14 of 18 below.
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The Wild West
Once you reach the entrance to the quarter-mile Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular trail, you can proceed at your own pace, stopping for photo ops along the way.Continue to 15 of 18 below.
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A Rewarding Experience
You'll feel rewarded to know your Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular admission fee supports the zoo's environmental education and conservation efforts.Continue to 16 of 18 below.
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Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere
It's easy to fixate on the most intricately carved pumpkins, such as this 1940s Post cover featuring Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter. But there are literally carved pumpkins everywhere along the ground, on towers, in the trees, and suspended over a pond. The pumpkin aroma is overpowering at the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular! There's no doubt these pumpkins are all the real deal.Continue to 17 of 18 below.
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Among the famous '80s faces on display at the 2010 Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular was 40th President Ronald Reagan.Continue to 18 of 18 below.
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That's One Big Pumpkin
The Jack-O'-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo features pumpkins of all shapes and sizes, some weighing as much as 800 lbs.
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