Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular returns for its 4th year

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(ABC 6 News) – The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Minnesota Zoo is back and bigger than ever for its 4th year.

Near the back of the zoo, about 20 artists play a role in hand-carving 5,000 pumpkins which most are real so they rot after a few days which means there is a lot of rotating throughout the spectacular’s run.

“We compost the ones that start to rot and bring in new ones,” said Zach Nugent, communication and media relations manager at the Minnesota Zoo.

“Some of the big ones with ink on it, we just compost those. But the other smaller, traditional jack-o’-lanterns, sometimes we will use those for animal enrichment, and then we actually grow pumpkins on site.”

Preparations begin in August with crews getting the jack-o’-lantern trail ready. The podiums and lights for the pumpkins are kept in place all year round. To make things a little easier, some of the pumpkins in the trees are fake and stay hung all year round.

“This takes quite a while to put together. We have individuals here in August starting to prep the trail. And then come September, it’s carving time. And these pumpkins, they don’t last, only a couple of days. So the carvers are working all throughout the month of October to create new designs and rotate new pumpkins in all throughout the run of the show.”

This year’s theme is “Night at the Library”, showcasing pumpkins with designs from different shows, novels, and other notable figures. Visitors will also notice dozens of carved pumpkins with simple designs.

Nugent said they try to stay away from traditional triangles to really make the event, and pumpkins unique.

The Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular runs through November 5th. Tickets range between $18 and $24 and zoo members receive $2-off general admission.

To learn more and buy your tickets, you can click here.