months ago Carol and I went to Upper Canada Village, a park full of
living history located about 90 miles east of our home. It was
our first trip there in decades and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
We told a
friend about our trip and she said, "A friend of my daughter has
been working there all summer carving pumpkins - thousands of
pumpkins. They're having some sort of Halloween event this
saw an ad for Pumpkinferno it was an easy sell . . . we went to
check it out.
Sunday October 7th - we pulled into the parking
lot at 6:25, five minutes before the park was due to open - Yikes -
there were a few hundred people lined up waiting for the ticket
office to open. Fortunately we already had tickets so we were
able to by-pass the big line.
Carol had phoned ahead and made sure the park was pet friendly.
They welcome dogs as long as you keep them on a leash and pick up
after them. So we dressed Zak and Blue up in their Halloween
costumes and headed to the entrance.
Zak has a
costume with a headless horseman saddled on his back and Blue wore a
pumpkin cape. They were a big hit with all the children!
displays we encountered covered about half of the park. The
walking paths were lined with soft LED lighting and there were
zombies along the way to keep us pointed in the right direction!
the first year for Pumpkinferno so we were not sure what to expect.
What we found certainly exceeded our expectations . . . in fact
we were both totally blown-away!
displays are full of imagination, wonderfully crafted and arranged
designers and carvers did a magnificent job!
pumpkins are all artificial but extremely realistic in appearance;
each one is made from a mold created using a real pumpkin.
They are made of plastic foam with an orange covering - when the
covering is removed light will shine softly through the foam just as
it does through the flesh of a real pumpkin.
be amazed what these creative people have achieved with nothing more
than carved pumpkins and coloured lights. Here are some
pictures above show you the same scene, The Haunted Mill. One
picture was taken with the flash to show the pumpkins; the second
picture demonstrates what you see after dark as you walk the park.
that pile of pumpkins in the doorway? That is the figure
carrying the lamp you see here on the right.
truly ingenious how they have been arranged and carved!
It's really difficult to
get good photographs at night. The camera lens just cannot
capture all that the human eye picks up in low-light conditions so
these pictures really don't do justice to the displays we saw.
As you look at the pictures just imagine that everything is brighter
and more vivid than it appears in the photos.
The brochure you receive
when you enter explains the main grouping of displays you will see
as you make your circuit of the park. There are 30 main
groupings but the grounds, trees and shrubs between those groupings
are also alive with imaginative pumpkin art.
As you cross the bridge
near the Mill you see ducks, fish and frogs all crafted from
pumpkins. There are carved critters everywhere - so we took
our time and enjoyed it all!
Just down the path is Pumpkin Sea'd - an undersea
themed display. Look closely and you can find an octopus,
snails, jelly fish, sea horses and a variety of other sea life and
ocean plants - all formed by a pile of carved pumpkins.
This peg-leg pirate is protecting his treasure!
Gleaming gems are scattered at his feet, all made with pumpkins.
His parrot is roosted not far away!
The beaver dam on the left was made by the pesky
beaver on the right!
Have you ever imagined a moose or totem poles made from pumpkins?
Neither had I . . . but they sure were amazing!
We took a break in front of this pumpkin display.
They were carved by the local school children pictured on the right.
a few more pictures to show the contrast between what you would see
during the day compared to the night scene. A pair of RCMP
Officers in their scarlet tunics guard a door. It's amazing
how a little light brings them to life at night!
some chess men and some aligators!
Over at the Tied Up Saloon some cow-pokes are misbehaving . . . one
has his revolver drawn while the other threatens to rope and hog-tie
This waiter is serving
outside Willard's Hotel
Upper Canada Village is located next to Crysler's
Farm, site of an important battle which took place on November 11,
1813 during the War of 1812. The British soldier and the
firing cannon above honour the brave souls who fought to secure our
county all those years ago.
This huge Chinese dragon is made entirely of
pumpkins. Look at the detail in his face!
The signs of the Chinese zodiac are depicted in
the pumpkin lanterns hanging in a tree near the dragon!
Palm trees and Tiki Gods flank an erupting
Egyptian figures flank this giant display of 256
pumpkins. Each one bears a carved hieroglyphic . . . except
one which has "Jack" the event logo. Can you find Jack?
wonderful garden scene showcases the light-hearted and imaginative
approach the designers have taken. A scarecrow stands amid the
corn stalks as crows roost on the nearby fence. The crop
includes carrots, cabbage and even pumpkins . . . oh wait - they're
watering can and the shovel are crafted from pumpkins!
The cemetery beside the church is the scene of a wedding -
congratulations to the happy couple - Mr. & Mrs. Zombie. Their
limousine waits, it's a hearse and the sign in the back window reads
"Just Buried" and the license plate reads "Grim"
Zak and Blue took a break
while we admired the clocks in front of the Clock Shop.
This clever scene depicts the evolution of man,
rising from the ocean, soon walking erect and then becoming what
appears to be a break-dancer on the right!
A headless horseman holds court in the stable.
The two horses you see as well as the lantern on the floor - it's
all crafted with carved pumpkins!
Two medieval knights do
battle in this scene!
This ghouls is climbing
from his grave in front of a vegetable garden!
The lady's face adorns
the trunk of a large tree and the three owls perch on a nearby
As you cross the bridge
to exit the park a mermaid relaxes on a rock in the river.
the last stop is the gift shop! Take time to browse . . .
there are even some of those wonderful carved pumpkins for sale!
the park at 8:00 p.m. and there were still several hundred people in
line waiting to buy tickets . . . this is going to be a very popular
This is the group of talented eastern-Ontario
artists who carved those amazing pumpkins! Thanks guys - you
did a fantastic job!
I wrote earlier that
Carol and I were blown away by what we saw . . . and I guarantee
that if you take time to visit Pumpkinferno you will be blown-away
too! It is truly amazing, I just cannot think of enough
superlatives to describe it.
And this is the first
year! It's bound to get better and better as time goes on!
It's a terrific family
event, there's nothing that will be too scary or intense for younger
children. It's great for the whole family. Try to get
there this year but if you cannot make it be sure to include it in
next year's Halloween plans. Carol and I have decided that
from now on it will be a Halloween tradition for us!
There are several spots
to eat on-site, everything from a light snack to a full sit-down
meal. Check the web site for details.
Important tip: Be sure to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the
our second trek east to Upper Canada Village to enjoy an evening at
It was a
We started with a nice dinner at Willard's hotel.
We both had a warming bowl of soup followed by Chicken Pot Pie.
Carol had a delicious Apple Rhubarb Crumble for dessert and I had
started our walking tour!
year's crowds, in the first year of Pumpkinferno, were significantly higher than the Parks Commission
had expected so this year they have spread the displays out to cover
a larger area. Good thinking! They have added over 1,000
new pumpkins so the display is 20% larger than last year and the
news about this great new event has spread like wildfire.
By the time we left at
8:30 the parking lot was almost full, but the park did not feel all
Every fencepost along the
trail was marked with a stack of carved pumpkins which created an
eerie environment as we followed the walkway through the village.
The displays were very
A deep sea diver and an
A volcano and palm trees.
A Tiki God
A parrot on a perch
The ground in front of
the pirate is littered with his booty!
This huge dragon
reflected on the water
A muskrat swam past and
rippled the reflection
Even the signs were
crafted from pumpkins
Walk this way, foolish
mortals . . .
Picture with flash . . .
The same picture without
flash . . . spookier!
looking for a great family outing, be sure to head to Morrisburg
Ontario for a stroll around Upper Canada Village during Pumpkinferno.
It's a real spectacle!
If you're planning to go, be sure to visit their web site and buy
your tickets in advance. The lines to buy tickets can be very
long but if you pre-purchase you can just walk right in! There
web site is here: