Nationally Acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Returns to Roger Williams Park Zoo this October

Nationally Acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular Returns to Roger Williams Park Zoo this October

Artful Display of 5,000 Pumpkins to Run October 3rd – November 3rd  


Twitter post:  Acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular returns to Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI every night Oct. 3rd - Nov. 3rd

Providence, RI— The acclaimed Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular presented by Citizens Bank will return to Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence with shows running nightly from October 3rd through November 3rd.  This highly anticipated annual event features a breathtaking display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns, with over 125 of them artistically carved and displayed in scenes to play out the annual theme. 

Situated on the Zoo’s picturesque wetlands trail, the event has won praise from across the nation for its amazing artistry and appeal as a unique family-friendly autumn destination.  Over 100,000 people have come in each of the past three years to enjoy the night time show, and last year’s Spectacular set an all-time record of over 110,000 visitors.

“Citizens Bank is pleased to sponsor the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, which continues to be a family favorite year after year,” said Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank, Rhode Island. “This incredible pumpkin display continues to amaze spectators both young and old.  We are looking forward to another successful season.”

The 2013 presentation, titled Pumpkinville, USA, will delight new and repeat visitors alike. Intricate pumpkin art will represent regions of the country, highlighting their unique attributes and as well as historical and cultural landmarks of each of the states. Regions will include Heartland of America, Pacific Coast, Mid-Atlantic, New England, and Appalachian Highlands. One scene will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and another will honor President Kennedy.

Show standards will return, such as the childhood favorites and Halloween scenes, and the show’s dazzling grand finale, the Laughing Tree. Hundreds of glowing jack-o-lanterns on the ground and high up in the trees surround carved giants (well over 1,000 pounds) amid spooky fog and music, punctuated by its iconic catchy beat and laughter.

Crews from Passion for Pumpkins, the show creators, will spend several weeks leading up to the event creating the magical display.  Then, they will work nearly around the clock throughout the 32 night run to keep the show fresh for visitors.

2013 Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular details:

The Show will run rain or shine from October 3th through November 3rd from 6 pm to 11 pm, with the last admission at 10 pm. The event will be extended one hour on Saturdays to close at midnight with the last admission at 11 pm.

The Spectacular is an important fundraiser for Roger Williams Park Zoo.  Proceeds from the event will help to support the Zoo’s environmental education and conservation efforts both locally and around the globe as well as Zoo improvements.

Tickets prices on Monday - Thursday are $12 adults, $10 seniors and $9 for children ages 3 – 12, with children under three admitted for free. Admission prices on Friday - Sunday are $15 adults, $13 seniors and $12 children ages 3 – 12; children two and under are admitted for free.

Visitors can purchase a meal package in addition to their Spectacular admission tickets and then enjoy express entry to the beginning of the pumpkin trail. Full details for each of the offerings will be available on the zoo’s website. The popular Harvest Buffet will be available Friday – Sunday nights at $24.95 for adults and $12.95 for children.  Moonlight Meal Deals will be offered Monday – Thursday nights at $15 for adults and $10 for children. Again, meal tickets will be purchased in addition to Spectacular admission tickets and will include express entry to the pumpkin trail.

Groups of 25 or more may call (401) 467-0150 for advance reservations and group rates. (No individual advance tickets will be sold.)  For more information, visit the Zoo’s website, call (401) 785-3510, or write to

Roger Williams Park Zoo is conveniently located in Providence, RI at exit 16 off Interstate I-95 north and exit 17 off I-95 south, about 1 hour from Boston and 90 minutes from Hartford. 

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular founder and history:

The Spectacular was founded many years ago by John Reckner, an Oxford, Massachusetts resident who recently retired from his postal carrier career.  Inspired by a Vermont farm he had seen lined with glowing jack-o-lanterns, Reckner organized the first Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in Oxford in 1988.  The jack-o-lanterns featured in this first event were carved by local residents and displayed for only one evening on a hillside behind a local school.  About 300 spectators attended.  Today, Mr. Reckner, his family, and their crew of jack-o-lantern artists now known as Passion for Pumpkins, continue to bring the Spectacular to life.

Selected by the U.S. Library of Congress as a national “local legacy,” and praised as “…one of the most brilliant displays of holiday artistry anywhere in the U.S. (,” the Spectacular has also been featured by Martha Stewart Living, The Travel Channel, The Today Show, The Early Show, USA Today and CNN, and hailed by the Associated Press as “extraordinary.”  It was featured on as one of the “top 11 Spookiest Destinations” in the country. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular was selected by the American Bus Association as one of the nation’s top 100 events.  The Boston Globe called the presentation “awe-inspiring.”

Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the nation, is Rhode Island’s number one outdoor family and tourist attraction, and is also a
leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of its size.  The Zoo has received numerous awards for environmental education, and
conservation work done locally and around the world, caring for species that without human intervention would face certain extinction. 
Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence.