Arts & Culture

Pumpkin Carving You Have to See to Believe

Each October, thousands of people descend on Louisville to see an art gallery like no other. Now in its eighth year, the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular uses five thousand pumpkins to transform a trail at Iroquois Park into an eerie-yet-magical scene. Among the simple jack-o’-lanterns sporting wide, toothy grins and narrow eyes, around 150 pumpkins serve as canvases for intricate works of art. Organized by the production company Passion for Pumpkins, twenty to forty local artists contribute their drawing and carving skills to craft pumpkins with elaborate scenes or characters that fit into a theme; this year’s is “A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Magical Places.” Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event will be drive-through only this year. The show, which runs now through November 1, is best witnessed in person, but for those who can’t make it to the awe-inspiring patch, we’ve rounded up thirteen outrageously detailed pumpkins from years past. 

View as Slideshow

Kentucky Derby horses race across the face of a pumpkin. 

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

A lion bares his teeth.

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

A pumpkin pays homage to one of Kentucky’s most historic sites: My Old Kentucky Home. 

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

The Mad Hatter’s signature grin.

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

A Chinese dragon snakes through the forest. 

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

The writer Edgar Allan Poe surrounded by ravens. 

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

The facade of the Taj Mahal.

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix represent the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

The shadow monster hovers over the main characters of Stranger Things.

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

Moby Dick emerges from the ocean.

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

Jay Gatsby dances with Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby.

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

A portrait of painter Vincent Van Gogh. 

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

“The End” scrawled on the cover of a book. 

photo: Courtesy of the Louisville Jack O'Lantern Spectacular

Next Up