Jack O'Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence

After watching a “Halloween Crazier” special on the Travel Channel, Mike & I knew we had to make a trip over to Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island for the annual Jack O’Lantern Spectacular Event. This amazing artistic event held every October features over 5000 intricately carved pumpkins.

Fields of pumpkins at Roger Williams Park Zoo's annual Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

The Pumpkin Trail

As you walk along the Pumpkin Trail, you will be awed by the number of creative Jack O’Lanterns present. These aren’t your ordinary carvings; you will find detailed celebrity, nature, historical, and political creations. The theme varies by year: this year’s theme is a dedication to the different regions of the US. The Heartland, Pacific Coast, Mid-Atlantic, Appalachians, and New England were all uniquely represented by their own Jack O’Lanterns.

The best part of the trail is arriving at the amazing grand finale. 1000’s of Jack O’Lanterns cover both the ground and the trees. This is one of the most jaw dropping Halloween displays I have ever seen. It really is something you need to see in person to truly appreciate!

1000's of pumpkins at Roger Williams Zoo's annual Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

How long does it take to carve all those pumpkins?

It takes the artists between 15-20 hours to complete each pumpkin.  And, they replace the old pumpkins with fresh creations each week! Imagine all the time & effort involved in this event! An intricate sketch is drawn on each pumpkin. Next, small pieces are carved out, rather than the traditional full cut out (the ending effect is mesmerizing).

Unique Jack O'lanterns at Roger Williams Park Zoo

Rhode Island’s most popular Halloween event

This is a very popular event. Open 7 days  a week, we figured Tuesday would be perfect, however, the crowds were still enormous! We arrived at opening time and still had to wait a half hour to get on the trail. I recommend buying online tickets in advance so you can bypass the long lines. It was hard to get as many high quality photos as we would have liked, however, we did our best!

Pumpkinville USA

Enjoy looking through this spectacular photo gallery featuring some of the best pumpkin carvings of all time! These photos are from the 2013 event. Each state was represented with an artistic and creative jack o’lantern!

New England themed carvings

Representing Maine…lobster and lighthouse

Maine Jack O'Lantern

Live Free or Die (New Hampshire state slogan)

Live Free or Die New Hampshire Jack O'Lanternng

A historic New England covered bridge

Covered bridge Jack O'lantern

Family Guy (takes place in Pawtucket, Rhode Island)

Family Guy Jack O'Lantern

Benjamin Franklin (born in Boston, MA in 1706)

Benjamin Franklin Jack O'lantern

“Boston Strong” In memory of the Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon Jack O'Lantern

“The Heartland” themed carvings

Representing the Midwest

Midwest Jack O'Lantern

The famous “American Gothic” painting

"American Gothic" Jack O' Lantern

“Motown Magic”

Motown music Jack O'Lantern

Thomas Edison (did you know that he was born in Ohio?)

Thomas Edison Jack O'Lantern

The Late Show with David Letterman

David Letterman Jack O'Lantern

Dorothy & Toto “The Wizard of Oz”

Wizard of Oz Jack O'Lantern

Michael Jordan…the best basketball player of all time

Michael Jordan Jack O'Lantern

Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota

Mt Rushmore Jack O'Lantern

Southeast state carvings

Bill Clinton…42nd President from Arkansas

Bill Clinton Jack O'lantern

Cool set up of Jack O’Lanterns spelling out Mississippi over the water

Mississippi Jack O'lanterns

Lionel Richie, singer songwriter from Alabama

Lionel Richie Jack O'lantern

Mountain state carvings

Idaho…what a beautiful cat carving

Idaho Jack O'Lantern

A beautiful desert silhouette carving representing the Southwest

Southwest Jack O'lantern

The beautiful red rocks of Utah

Utah Jack O'lantern

Nevada…The entertainment capital of the world!

Nevada Vegas Jack O'lantern

Appalachian Highlands themed carvings

Elvis “The King of Rock and Roll”

Elvis Jack O'Lantern

The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby Jack O'Lantern


Appalachia Jack O'Lantern

Mid-Atlantic themed carvings

Audrey Hepburn “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Audrey Hepburn Jack O'Lantern

New Jersey…”The Garden State”

The Garden State Jack O'Lantern

Atlantic City…”America’s Favorite Playground”

Atlantic City Jack O'lantern

Albert Einstein (died in New Jersey in 1955)

Einstein Jack O'lantern

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (originated in Ulster County, NY)

Sleepy Hollow Jack O'lantern

George Washington

George Washington Jack O'Lantern

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jack O'Lantern

The Pacific Coast themed carvings

Hollywood…Tom Cruise & Marilyn Monroe (not sure who the actor in the middle is?)

Hollywood Jack O'Lantern

Seattle…home to Bill Gates, Microsoft & Starbucks Coffee

Seattle Jack O'Lantern

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

Golden Gate bridge Jack O'Lantern

California’s Beautiful Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Jack O'lantern

Historic Haight Street in San Francisco

Peace San Francisco Jack O'lantern

Aloha Hawaii

Hawaii Aloha Jack O'Lantern

Hours & location

The Jack O’Lantern Spectacular event takes place at Roger Williams Park Zoo, located at 1000 Elmwood Ave. Providence, Rhode Island 02907. Event runs from Sept. 29th-Oct. 31st. Trail open from 6pm-10:30pm (last entry at 10). Pricing varies based on date. Check the website for more details and next year’s time/dates. Both free parking and premier parking ($10) are available. The free parking lot is adjacent to the paid lot.

Snacks and hot drinks are available at the start and end of the trail. The zoo itself is not open, however, you may pass by a few animals while on the trail.

Jack O'lantern Spectacular in Providence, Rhode Island

Have you ever attended Rhode Island’s Jack O’Lantern Spectacular? What was your favorite carving? How did you like the carvings at this year’s event? Feel free to share your thoughts below! Happy Halloween!