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Passionate About Pumpkins: One Man's Spectacular Halloween Show

If you've been looking for inspiration to go all in on your passions, this video might do it! John Reckner's passion is for what he calls "illuminated artwork." The best method he found for creating such art was lightly carving the exterior skin of pumpkins, so that a candle inside the pumpkin would provide back-lighting for the designs. The end result is enchanting!


John's commitment to creating the artwork he loves is impressive: during the 30 years he was employed by the postal service, he would spend his one month off every year creating beautiful Jack O'Lanterns to showcase his illuminated designs.

Ultimately, and luckily for us, he turned his passion into a full-on event: The Jack O'Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park Zoo! And he has done an amazing job: more than a half million visitors have visited the event over the last 5 years, and the Library of Congress selected The Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular as a national "local legacy." You can visit from October to November!

Along with his team, Passion For Pumpkins, John takes great care to provide a wonderful experience for his visitors. After each Halloween season, he reads from the visitors' log book to come up with new ideas for the following year's show. "We try to touch people," he says about the event.

Putting on a show like The Jack O'Lantern Spectacular is no simple feat—it includes more than 5,000 carved pumpkins, which weigh an average of 100 pounds each and take several hours to decorate—but when you're totally committed to your passions, even the most demanding jobs can be a joy to complete.

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