7 pumpkin festivals you don’t want to miss this fall

Photo Credit: Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest


We can’t forget about pumpkins in the midst of fall fun! From visiting pumpkin patches to carving jack-o’-lanterns, there are even events focused on the bright orange squash. Here are some pumpkin festivals your kids will love.


Pumpkin Fest at Cosley Zoo


When: Oct. 1-31


Where: Cosley Zoo, 1356 North Gary Ave., Wheaton


Rides, a corn stalk tunnel and more await kids, in between the thousands of pumpkins scattered throughout the zoo’s lawn. Pumpkins, apples and cider are amongst the many available fall items to purchase.


Jack’s Pumpkin Glow


When: Oct. 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27


Where: The Sensory Garden Playground, 2751 Navistar Drive, Lisle


More than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins and other glowing foliage will illuminate with life-sized sculptures, classic Halloween characters, princesses, superheroes, dinosaurs, pirates, musicians and movie stars lining a leisurely trail in the park. Savor some seasonal food and beverage along the way while master carvers demonstrate their abilities as they add 1,000 fresh carvings each week throughout the season. Get some carving tips from the pros and pick up a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch for seasonal décor at home.


RELATED: Best fests in Chicago and the suburbs to ring in fall


Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest


When: Oct. 11-13


Where: Downtown Highwood


Festival organizers attempt to raise $600,000 for Make-a-Wish Illinois to help grant wishes to kids with life-threatening conditions. Other activities include all-you-can-carve pumpkins, trick-or-treating, costume contests, Pumpkin parade, hayrides, pony rides, petting zoo, crafts, two entertainment stages, food and beverage vendors and a Superhero 5K Pumpkin Run/Walk.


Lockwood’s Pumpkin Fest


When: Oct. 12-14


Where: Lockwood Park, 5201 Safford Road, Rockford


Activities include Pick Your Pumpkin, carnival rides, corn maze, wagon rides, pony ring rides, pumpkin-themed games and activities, Native American Village, scavenger hunt, build a scarecrow, seasonal food favorites, and more. Plus, Lockwood Park has 15 miles of scenic trails for hiking, biking, or horseback riding.

Photo Credit: The Glow: A Pumpkin Wonderland


Great Pumpkin Celebration


When: Oct. 19


Where: Robert W. Rolek Community Center, 814 Hart Road, Round Lake


Indoor trick-or-treating, face painting, carnival games, bounce house, hayride and corn maze. For younger Halloween fans, a not-so-scary trick-or-treat walk will be available in the Children’s Neighborhood Museum.


Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns


When: Oct. 16-20, 23-27


Where: Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe


More than 1,000 hand-carved, real pumpkins—some as large as 150 pounds—light up the night. The LED-lit jack-o’-lanterns will be staged along a festive, paved pathway, starting at the Esplanade. Along the way, encounter entertaining characters and watch live carving.


RELATED: 8 incredible local corn mazes to get lost in this fall


Sycamore Pumpkin Festival


When: Oct. 23-27


Where: Downtown Sycamore


Features thousands of decorated pumpkins on display, food booths, carnival, parade, and Saturday entertainment.


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