The Arboretum at Penn State

Special Events

Pumpkin Festival

One Bad Bug Jack-o'-lantern

One Bad Bug Jack-o’-Lantern

Our Pumpkin Festival takes place in mid-October and features a pumpkin giveaway, jack-o’-lantern carving contest, lighted nighttime displays, and family activities. Volunteers help with event set-up, contest registration, jack-o’-lantern illumination, games and crafts, refreshments, and more. Many thanks to the Vargo family who has sponsored the Pumpkin Festival for eight consecutive years.

The ribbon winners of the 2019 jack-o’-lantern contest are shown on the left. The creativity and variety of the entries delighted festival-goers! You can see some of the jack-o’-lanterns in Penn State News.

2019 Jack-o’-Lantern Winners

Enter the Jack-o’-Lantern Contest (2020)
Pumpkin Giveaway
Sunday, October 4
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
One thousand pumpkins will be given away to contest entrants!

Contestants may also provide their own pumpkins.

Jack-o’-Lantern Registration
If you are registering a jack-o’-lantern for the contest, bring your entry (one per person) to the Overlook Pavilion in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 9.

Pumpkin Festival
Friday, October 9
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Jack-o’-Lantern Display and Food Vendors

Saturday, October 10
3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Food Vendors On Site

3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Family Activities

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Band at Overlook Pavilion

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Jack-o’-Lantern Display

Sunday, October 11
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Ribbon Pick-Up and Composting
(Unclaimed pumpkins will be composted at 12:00 p.m.)

You can also see these dates on our events calendar.

Pumpkin Festival Gallery >


 Winter Celebration

Fireplace Scene at Winter Celebration

Fireplace Scene at Winter Celebration

In 2019 our Winter Celebration event will be held on Friday, December 13, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The PennHarmonics and State High Chamber Singers will present a mix of seasonal and popular tunes at a stage on the event lawn. Enjoy taking photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the overlook pavilion. Visitors will be able to view the lighted tree displays throughout the gardens and in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden through early January.

Winter Celebration Gallery