We’re just coming off a fantastic Thanksgiving Weekend, and I’m still so turkey-drunk that I can’t even say anything witty about it. It was just a lovely haze of apple pie and sweet potatoes and red wine, combined with walks in the woods and the feeding of birds and butterflies and the watching of The Great Escape, all of which was just wonderful. So yes, no snark here today.

One of the great things we did this weekend was go to Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village. This is absolutely not a sponsored post in any way, but it was so surprisingly good that I wanted to blog about it quickly and let everyone in Ottawa know that they should absolutely go. Go!

We’ve had Upper Canada Village on our list now, both for a summer visit and for a Christmas visit, for ages now, but I always chicken out because it’s over an hour’s drive away. Pumpkinferno is at night, starting at 6:30 p.m., so combine that with the drive and you have the potential for a major too-tired meltdown. While we were driving down, the kids were already getting restless and cranky and Sir Monkeypants kept saying to me through gritted teeth, “This better be worth it,” but in truth, we both thought we were in for a hellish evening and a quick escape, followed by a long, tormented drive home.

But no! It has a happy ending! Pumpkinferno was AWESOME.

What exactly is it? It’s a display of carved pumpkins. Thousands of carved pumpkins. Creative faces and shapes like you’ve never seen before. Hundreds of pumpkins stacked together and carved as one to create enormous scenes of stunning originality. They literally took our breath away.

So what you do is, you walk. You walk down a nice, wide, welcoming path, through dark fields and forest, each area lit up one after the other with a pumpkin-based vignette. They glow in the night and your kids will be just amazed. Trust me. My kids went from cranky and complainy to declaring that this was the BEST. NIGHT. EVER.

They asked if we could come back the very next night. Then they asked if we could at least come back once more before Halloween (when it’s over). Then they begged me to at least swear that we would come again next year.

And so we will.

I took about a thousand pictures there but many of them are crappy because I suck at low-light photography. Also, I was originally going to post a bunch of pictures to dazzle you with, but then the more I thought about it, the more I thought the surprise of it all – the wonder of wandering into the next scene and being shocked at the cleverness and beauty – was what made it special. So, no spoilers here.

Well…maybe just a couple. To whet your appetite. Click to enlarge.

Chess set at Pumpkinferno
Chinese Lanterns at Pumpkinferno
Saloon at Pumpkinferno
Bride and groom at Pumpkinferno

On the way home my son asked how much it had cost (answer: $10 for adults, $7 for kids aged 6-12, so around $35 plus gas for our family), and he solemnly declared it to be the best money we have ever spent. Completely worth it.

And then all the kids fell asleep for the ride home.

So go, already. Go!

Just a reminder that you can see awesome Ottawa events and activities like this one over on my Facebook page – you don’t have to actually be on Facebook to view the listings. I usually put stuff up on Monday that’s for the upcoming weekend.

6 thoughts on “Pumpkinferno

  1. That looks amazing. My lovely partner Muppet does pumpkins for the kids every year with whatever they want on them. We have had Jack Skellington from ‘Nightmare Before Christmas,’ Picachu, and many other various video game and cartoon characters. It’s pretty awesome to see such skill on display.

  2. Oooh, this sounds so fun! Last year I brought B.G. to the Fiery Faces Fundraiser in Ottawa and we loved it, but it was only about 100 pumpkins (sadly they’re not doing it this year). Thousands of pumpkins – sounds incredible! We’re going!

  3. I was hoping to go this weekend but now my oldest has super early hockey both days. GAH. Can you e-mail me how long it took to see it all and enjoy it. I figure if we get there right at 6:30 we could be home by 9pm and he could get enough sleep…? Is that realistic?

  4. So since I’m getting to see you tomorrow I am doing the terrible thing and reading a month’s worth of posts all at once because i am a terrible blog reader. BUT then I saw these pumpkins and I was blown away! I love things like this and also love the geekiness that goes into the work of them.

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