New York Botanical Garden Halloween Exhibit



The New York Botanical Garden is putting out all the stops for Halloween this year with its Haunted Pumpkin Garden Exhibit.  This family friendly event is filled with fall spirit and spooky adventures that even college students will enjoy.

According to the NYBG, “The Haunted Pumpkin Garden returns to its roots with a massive display of pumpkins and gourds from North America, ranging from the unusual to the gargantuan.”

Photo by Madeleine Schwartz
Photo by Madeleine Schwartz

Their pumpkins of all shapes and sizes are carved into different faces and characters. Designs that are much too difficult for the average Joe to do at home can be seen on display here. The Garden has been created into a walkable exhibit where visitors can enjoy a stroll as Halloween magic happens along the path.

As you walk through the exhibit there are different activities that catch your eye. There is a maze made out of hedges that you can weave through as well as many sculptures that are made completely from objects found in nature. One in particular is designed to look like a man by using several pumpkins as the body and branches as the feet and arms. This technique also gives life to smaller creations to make pumpkins look like they’re walking and sitting.  Creativity is the name of the game for this exhibit.

Not only is a trip to the Haunted Pumpkin Garden fun, but it is educational too. There are facts about pumpkins and Halloween scattered around the path. Many visitors learned for the first time that, if you can believe it, a pumpkin is actually a fruit.

For the younger visitors, the garden also has a puppet show, complete with animal hand puppets, as well as craft stations where they can make trick-or-treat bags. Children are also encouraged to come in their costumes which adds even more fun to the exhibit. If you haven’t seen the Disney movie “Frozen,” do it before Halloween; seemingly every girl is dressed as either Elsa or Anna.

Although this exhibit caters to a younger demographic, there are some parts that have been specifically created for college-aged students and above. The section that appeals to the older visitors the most is the giant pumpkin carving.

Ray Villafane, a master carver, has been a finalist on “Halloween Wars” and holds a spot at the annual Haunted Halloween Garden. His creation this year is a skeleton crawling out of the inside of a destroyed pumpkin. The details of his work are incredible and some can easily be missed by a first glance.

Photo by Madeleine Schwartz
Photo by Madeleine Schwartz

It is fascinating to watch Villafane create a masterpiece out of an ordinary object. Crowds surround his work station and stare as he carves out the excess seeds and flesh of the inside of his pumpkin.

Our college-aged demographic also connects to the social media that the New York Botanical Garden has interwoven throughout their exhibit. As the viewer travels through the show, there are signs that say “#hauntednybg” which encourage people to tweet about their visit. Furthermore, once people post something on Twitter about the exhibit, there’s a good chance that the Botanical Garden will retweet or favorite it.

The Haunted Pumpkin Garden is on display at the NYBG in the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden until Oct. 31. If you are looking to get into the Halloween spirit, it is the perfect place to go.