Daytrippers: The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Returns To Providence

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Supersized and supernatural, each year the Roger Williams Park Zoo glows when its memorable pumpkin show is going on.

The zoo has hosted the "Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular" for ten years and, this year, more than 5,000 pumpkins line the 1/4 mile trail.

"It's a lot of work but we've got an army of people that put everything they've got into this," said founder and chief carver John Reckner. Reckner is assisted by 18 other artists who use the pumpkins as their canvas, carving everything from Norman Rockwell Christmas scenes to an intricate recreation of a Moby Dick painting. "It's a combination illuminated artwork, good music, and a nice setting," Reckner said.

fox ct pumpkinThe theme for 2014 is Jack-O-Lanterns from A to Z. "We start with Alice in Wonderland and we end with Z for Zoo, and we have everything in between," said Jeremy Goodman, the executive director of the zoo. As pumpkins flare, music blares, adding to the Halloween ambiance in the park, "We start almost a full year in advance planning the themes for it," Goodman said.

From Frankenstein to Einstein, from the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, to the Queen of England; pop culture is always prominent on the pumpkins.

"The show is evolving," Goodman said. "It's a living show, its art on pumpkins." Reckner added that he and his team probably carve around 20,000 pumpkins through the course of the show because a pumpkin's shelf life is about five to seven days. "I just want [visitors] to be inspired, to feel good," he said.

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular runs through Nov. 2 at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $9 for kids and are slightly more on Friday nights and weekends. The show opens at dusk and is wheelchair accessible. For more information visit

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