Pumpkin Nights is a lovely pumpkin-themed date night


Photo by James Domizio

Pumpkin Nights is a travelling mini-carnival featuring over 3,000 real pumpkins hand-carved by local artists.

James Domizio, Staff Writer

Featuring over 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins, Pumpkin Nights boasts games, eats and entertainment to make any evening feel spooky and spectacular. 

While the event is mid-sized, tickets cost $20, as much as entry to a county fair. The price is for good reason: set-up took over three weeks and employed the help of local artists who carved each of the event’s thousands of pumpkins. 

Upon entrance, you’re greeted with photo-ops, booths of handmade clothing/jewelry and food and drink that bring the carnival to life. Mexican food, Greek food, Italian food, Korean food, funnel cakes, roasted almonds, ice cream and more are served. The kettle corn booth offers free samples that might make you go home with two bags of Chicago-style kettle corn.

Kids can play in a bouncy house, get their faces painted, go on a spinning tea-cups ride or sit back on some hay-bales and watch “The Nightmare Before Christmas” in the center of the festivities. Tune in after dark if you want to be able to clearly see the screen.

The event’s star attraction is Pumpkin Lands, a half-mile walking tour of pumpkins both lovingly designed and immaculately arranged. Head through at sunset and you’ll get some of the best-looking pictures you’ll take all year.

From the Harry Potter-themed Great Pumpkin Hall to an enormous pumpkin dragon who breathes scented smoke, creativity is present for every step of the pathway that winds through Pumpkin Lands.

“I like the garden one best,” said box office staff member Sam Kalemba, referring to one of the most quaint sections of Pumpkin Lands. “So cute!”

This year, Pumpkin Nights is also operating in Salt Lake City, Denver, Los Angeles and Dallas/Fort Worth.

Pumpkin Nights is 5:30 PM-10:30 PM every night until Nov. 3 at Sonoma County Fairgrounds. General admission is $20, but weekday night owl tickets are $17. Seniors, children and babies pay reduced rates. Non-service animal pets are not allowed. Parking is $10.