The Arboretum at Penn State

Special Events

We are tentatively planning to host our Pumpkin Festival in 2022 on the following dates:
Pumpkin Giveaway – Sunday, October 2 – 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. (Behind Overlook Pavilion)
Jack-o’-Lantern Lighted Display – Friday, October 7 – 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
and Saturday, October 8, 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Please check back here and on our Facebook page in late summer for details about this year’s festival.

Pumpkin Festival

One Bad Bug Jack-o'-lantern

Our Pumpkin Festival traditionally 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 below. 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




Pumpkin Festival Gallery >


 Winter Celebration

Fireplace Scene at Winter Celebration

Each winter we feature seasonal garden displays, evergreen trees, and holiday lights throughout the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens from mid-December through mid-January. The lights remain on until 9:00 p.m. each evening.

One of the most festive attractions is Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden where a tall tree in the glass house is decorated with natural materials from the gardens and with ornaments made by children. In 2021, we expanded the displays to include the Pollinator and Bird Garden.

Winter Display Gallery