1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022
In October of last year, Lisa and I received an invitation in the mail from Chicago Botanic Garden to purchase advance tickets for Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns. We were members and so were afforded this choice opportunity. Never having heard of this event, on a whim, we decided to visit Chicago Botanic Garden on a chilly October night and see everything for ourselves. Despite the chills from the weather, but thanks to the chills from the scary and amazing jack-o’-lanterns, we had such a fun evening that we decided to return this year.
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“”Pumpkins are slow growers, requiring 100 to 125 days to mature. Giant pumpkins can require 15 to 20 gallons of water twice a week.”
This year in October, Lisa, my mom and I embarked on our exciting adventure into the night at Chicago Botanic Garden for an evening of fun scares, tasty treats and refreshments, and countless photo opportunities with unbelievably detailed jack-o’-lanterns and the expert carvers and artists who gave these pumpkins new life. The weather was absolutely perfect. October had been mild. The forecasts were calling for rain but we were gifted a calm, overcast evening sky. It felt good to be outside in the night. The large group of guests being admitted in waves were generally well behaved and just wanted to have a good time. The atmosphere felt positive and light.
Passing through the gate, I paused at the first jack-o’-lantern like I did last year; but, of course, this was a different jack-o’-lantern. Still, I wondered the same thought, “If this is jack-o’-lantern number one, are there really one-thousand?” The short answer is, “I don’t know.” And, “I don’t want to know.” What would it matter? According to Chicago Botanic Garden, there are more than 1,000 jack-o’-lanterns. There are so many that you cannot see them all. It is just not possible to get a visual on each one. There are so many tucked in so many places that you would miss many even if you did your best to track and count them all. And where would the fun be in that? That would be missing the point (and the jack-o’-lanterns) entirely. You’re missing my point! You’re missing the jack-o’-lanterns!
As we walked through Chicago Botanic Garden, experiencing the Garden like only once before, we stopped to photograph and marvel at so many impressive jack-o’-lanterns. In between these living orange works of art we encountered plaques that stated interesting facts, a few of which I included as highlight quotes.
“Centuries ago in Ireland and Scotland, people began carving scary faces on vegetables to frighten away evil spirits.”
Further into the event, we happened upon the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden where refreshments were offered. Let’s just say the Island Café made us an offer we couldn’t refuse. Apple cider doughnuts, hot coffee and iced tea really put a smile on our faces. We also witnessed someone sit on somebody’s pretzel, which exploded our smiles into laughter. If I hadn’t been all hands full of doughnut and coffee, I could’ve had documentation.
“Illinois grows the most pumpkins of any state. Our official state pie? Pumpkin, of course.”
As impressive as the jack-o’-lanterns were to behold and record, it was even more of a gobstopper to see the carvers and artists in action. They seemed so relaxed and enraptured by their creative process, visualizing and shaping simultaneously. I was thankful for their presence and participation at this year’s event. Their talents and the generosity of Chicago Botanic Garden to produce this affordable event for everyone is the best treat every year.
From memorable jack-o’-lanterns to spooky trains to live carving, Chicago Botanic Garden really knows how to make us all feel like kids again and enjoy Halloween for the magical night that it will always be. I personally thank Chicago Botanic Garden and all the people who make Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns possible every October. I feel like a happy kid again every time I go.
Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns at Chicago Botanic Garden is the place to be in October to see expertly carved jack-o’-lanterns that will amaze everyone in person, and later again over the course of viewing hundreds of photos. There cannot be a bad photo when there are so many amazing jack-o’-lanterns. This is Halloween redefined and reimagined; yet, respected and honored for all its importance in our upbringing that shaped us. Lose yourself among 1,000 jack-o’-lanterns, and find the kid that still lives within you at Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns
Wanna see something REALLY scary? Click on the link to my Adobe Spark photoblog at Adobe Spark – Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns
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