Imagine all of the coziness of fall mixed with loads of Halloween fun and singing pumpkins—that’s what you’ll find at the Skylands Stadium Jack O’Lantern Experience. And after visiting with my family, I can genuinely say it’s an experience all ages will love. From the 45-minute walk-through displays of intricately designed, mind-blowing Jack O’Lanterns to the fall festival of yard games and live music. this is a must-do to get into the Halloween spirit. Luckily, it extends the week past Halloween, so you can still get a chance to see it if you don’t get there by the 31st. Read on for what to know before you go. And if you want more pumpkin fun, visit the best pumpkin picking patches and farms in NJ.
Entering the Skylands Stadium Jack O’Lantern Experience
As we entered the Skylands Stadium, we were greeted by three singing pumpkins (yes, pumpkins!) belting out songs to the crowd. We started walking through a tunnel of dancing lights and headed straight toward a colossal Ferris wheel full of lit jack o’lanterns intricately carved as Halloween-themed music rang in our ears in the background. Overhead were mini carved pumpkins dangling from the trees above, smiling down on us. My kids heard the roars of dinosaurs, and as we continued on the path, my dino-loving kids were thrilled to see T-Rex and more made entirely out of pumpkins. The next stop was a castle filled with Disney-themed pumpkins full of delicate detail only an experienced carver could create.
Blazing through happy hauntings
As we wandered deeper into the display, there was a graveyard, more jack o’lanterns, and even a spooky pumpkin-carved skeleton on a motorcycle. There were pumpkin faces, pumpkin planets, and even a pumpkin head on a scarecrow—it was a dizzying assortment of the most fantastic art carved onto the orange gourds. By the end of this display, we all agreed our favorite was the massive Day of the Dead pumpkin face surrounded by more miniature pumpkins illuminated with colorful lights.
Hitting a Halloween home run
We came to another flashing light tunnel, which led us to the inside of the Skylands Stadium and a fantastic display. My kids immediately recognized the Sponge Bob Squarepants’ carved character surrounded by pumpkins transformed into jellyfish, sea turtles, and sharks. The stands were filled with pumpkins carved into seashell shapes, designer logos like Gucci, and silly faces that seemed to watch us as we walked on the field. When we went past the dugout, we saw an adorable pumpkin baseball team hanging out with baseball hats made out of (you guessed it) pumpkins. Next, we wandered down the path and made our way into the safari to see pumpkin giraffes, and then we turned the corner and saw some friendly characters from Frozen. Finally, we came face to face with a huge pumpkin dragon full of beautifully carved detail with light spilling out from all angles. As we went to the end of the display, we walked through a final, fun, fully-lit tunnel, and we entered a bustling nighttime fall festival for the whole family.
Staying for s’more family fun
As we walked into the festival, we could hear live music at the Beer Garden. There are over 30 craft brews to try, as well as ciders and hard seltzers, and the under 21-set can warm up with hot apple cider or cocoa. And the fun doesn’t stop there—kids can participate in the pumpkin pick and paint, cozy up to the fire pits while heating marshmallows from the family s’more packets, or try out some of the rides. We all had a warm cup of cocoa and then ran to the yard games. At the end of the night, my kids were definitely feeling the Halloween spirit, but most of all, we felt inspired to up our pumpkin carving game this year.
What to know before you go
The Skylands Stadium Jack O’Lantern Experience runs for 30 days from September 22-November 5. There are new displays this year, and The Jack O’Lantern Experience has openings from 6:45 PM to 8:45 PM. Twilight tickets are $19 per person, an excellent option for younger families that might still want a little daylight (kids 36″ and under are free). When darkness falls, the Prime Time ticket is $24 per person, and the VIP ticket, which includes cider, beer, wine, and anytime with no lines, is $39 per person (the price guarantees admission for any night during any time slot even if the event is sold out). Strollers are permitted. Parking is free, and this is a rain-or-shine event.
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