Pumpkin Nights trail serves up spooky Halloween fun

October 08, 2022

After the hot, hot, hot summer we just endured in Texas, I’ve never been more ready for fall. All things pumpkin and pumpkin spice — bring it on, and help me forget summer exists. So when I heard about Pumpkin Nights, a walking trail through a themed land filled with creative jack-o-lanterns, I was all in.

A carved pumpkin featuring animals from the Black Lagoon

Weekend admission for 3 adults is expensive, and parking is extra, but it’s all worth it for the enchanting jack-o’-lanterns along the 1/2-mile trail at Pioneer Farm in Northeast Austin. There’s also a fire show, food trucks, a pumpkin carver and giant pumpkins to enjoy before you hit the trail.

But the trail is the main attraction, and it’s immersive, magical and photo-worthy.

Pumpkin Passage

A long tunnel of hanging jack-o’-lanterns creates a bright, smiling entrance.

The displays along the trail are made of hand-carved artificial pumpkins – about 5,000 of them! — It shall not rot during the month in which the trail is open. They look like real pumpkins with different shapes and sizes and seemingly hundreds of different expressions.

Enchanted Forest

As you walk along the green-lit trail, you’ll encounter half a dozen or so themed lands. A bright blue moon in the enchanted forest makes for a popular photo op

The trail soon became a little scary.

Lots of bugs and fairies.

A giant owl made of pumpkins looms tall at the end of the forest.

Great hall

The Great Hall evokes a Halloween feast harry potterIts Hogwarts, candles and pumpkins and owls floating overhead.

forbidden city

In the Forbidden City, a scraggly dragon and Chinese lanterns — all made of pumpkins — had us oohing and aahing.

surprise lane

Maravilla Lane highlights the movie cocoa with Day of the Dead-themed jack-o’-lanterns.

Monster Mash?

A bustling display of giant houseflies and Venus fly traps was part of the neon reef or playground area Monster Mash. Yes, those are pumpkin eyes and a giant pumpkin body!

Carved Pumpkin Venus Fly Traps Pumpkin flies were enjoying a snack.

Neon Reef

With a black-light glow, the neon reef features hanging pumpkin jellyfish, pufferfish and toothy anglerfish.

And then… the giant spider hiding in the thick web.

Pirate Cove

And finally, in Pirate Cove, jack-o-lantern pirates swing cutlasses at each other and stockpile eight pieces.

As we circled back to the exit, I was sad to see the holiday magic come to an end. But for a few hours, the museum did a great job of banishing that dreaded summer from my mind.

Pumpkin Nights is open every evening except Tuesday and ends on October 30th. Dallas also has a Pumpkin Night.

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October 20th Garden Spark Talk “Black Flora” author Teresa Speight is on sale now, and you’re invited! Teri will share the stories of pioneering Black florists, flower activists and florists doing incredible work across the United States in her profile of these incredible creatives. black flora is uplifting and inspiring; See my book review for more information. Join us and meet Terry during his lecture and book signing. Seating is limited, and tickets must be purchased in advance.

Learn about garden design from the experts here Garden Spark! I host private talks with inspiring designers, landscape architects, and writers several times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Just click on this link and ask to be added. You can find this year’s speaker lineup here.

All material © 2022 by Pam Penick for Excavation. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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