More than 5,000 pumpkins jostle in the trees, side-eye each other, and exhale so much LED light: It’s the Minnesota Zoo’s second annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, open through November 3.
They flank a looped trail that takes 40-50 minutes to complete—classic jack-o’-lanterns crowding pedestalled objets d’art, with tarantulas, Disney characters, and fantasy scapes scraped into the flesh of prize-winning 200-pounders (not including the “Atlantic Giants,” which roll in from rural Minnesota and Wisconsin, weighing up to 2,000 pounds).
The ground-to-treetops spectacle resembles an orange-tinted bioluminescent forest. It opened for audiences October 1 courtesy of the country’s top-tier pumpkin carvers, as organized by the Massachusetts-based Passion for Pumpkins, Inc., which holds similar events in Rhode Island and Kentucky. In place of last year’s trip-through-time theme: an around-the-world jaunt, visiting Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Here, peruse a few of our favorites. If you’re convinced, see if online-only tickets are available—because they’re going fast. And if you go, one rule for photographers to remember: Turn off your flash!