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The City Journals

Pumpkin lovers invited to Pumpkin Nights at Utah State Fairpark

Oct 01, 2018 05:10PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Families are invited to walk along displays of real and foam pumpkins at Pumpkin Nights. (Courtesy Valerie Hernandez/Olive Creative Strategies)

By Spencer W. Belnap | [email protected] 

With the fall season officially here, many people will be flocking to haunted houses, corn mazes and various attractions across the Salt Lake Valley. Returning to the Utah State Fairpark this October will be Pumpkin Nights, a product of Bigsley Event House, a creator in experiential events. This immersive Halloween event is a unique experience that takes place in four cities in the western United States. Salt Lake’s kicks off Oct. 5 and runs until Nov. 4.

Children and adults are invited back out to this part of the city shortly after the Utah State Fair wraps up. The grounds will be bustling once again with nightly entertainment and eight pumpkin-themed lands. Visitors, or “Pumpkinheads,” as the event hosts like to refer them as, will have a number of food and beverage options to choose from as well. 

“I had a great time at last year’s Pumpkin Nights,” Salt Lake City resident Mike Christian said. “It ended up being a group of us, and my girlfriend really liked it. It’s a fun walk.”

Christian is referring to the half-mile or so dedicated to all the pumpkin displays and interactive exhibits. Over 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins and foam pumpkins will be used, offering intricate and entertaining designs for folks to feast their eyes upon.

“The first thing you need to get over is it’s not all real pumpkins,” Christian said. “After that, it’s pretty creative. I didn’t think it was overpriced either. And the hot chocolate was delicious.”

“Pumpkinheads” can explore eight different themed pumpkin lands. Some of this year’s lands include Pumpkin Pirate Cove, an island where pumpkin pirates protect their pumpkin treasure by their ship. There’s Spider Alley, full of pumpkin spiders and bugs for kids to admire. Forbidden Pumpkin City is an Asian-inspired land featuring a lantern tunnel and a 40-foot-long dragon. Pumpkin Reef has some UV light and underwater pumpkins to show off, and Pumpkin Passage has visitors walking by more than 600 hand-carved jack-o’-lanterns. 

In addition to the immersive lands, “Pumpkinheads” can check out Pumpkin Central to get even more into the autumn and Halloween spirit. This area of the event will have seasonal beverages like hot cocoa and cider, and a variety of treats. There will also be a screening of the Pixar movie “Coco,” a pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting, and the opportunity to interact with some of the pumpkin artists carving giant pumpkins each night. Pumpkin Central will also host performers such as fire dancers and offer activities for the family. 

This year’s event also features a contest where Salt Lake City artists were able to submit a design in hopes of it ending up carved into a pumpkin. Three local winners were selected in September. Their drawings will be hand-carved into pumpkins and placed on display throughout Pumpkin Nights. 

“We’re excited to bring the magic of Pumpkin Nights to Salt Lake City for a second time,” said Chelsea Kasen, Pumpkin Nights’ co-founder. “We are especially excited to give attendees a behind-the-scenes look on our social media accounts at how the Pumpkin Lands are created, and introduce the talented artists behind the installations.”

“Pumpkinheads” can join the Facebook page, Pumpkin Nights Fest, for more insider details and videos. They can also follow @PumpkinNightsFest on Instagram. 

Tickets are available for purchase online at They are sold for specific dates and times. Children 3 and under are free, ages 4 to 12 are $16, and general adult admission is $20. Seniors at least 60 years old are also $16. Night owl specials are available nightly with timeslots from 8 p.m. to close, and some discount family packs are also available.