Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns – an art experience to remember

The Chicago Botanic Garden is one of our favorite places. Opened to the public in 1972, It is a 385-acre living plant museum situated on nine islands in the Cook County Forest Preserves. The Chicago Botanic Garden ( is owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, and managed by the Chicago Horticultural Society. The garden is open year round with seasonally adjusted plants and landscapes. It features 27 display gardens in four natural habitats: McDonald Woods, Dixon Prairie, Skokie River Corridor, and Lakes and Shores.

In addition to the display gardens, CBG hosts many annual events and festivals. This year we reacted early and were able to get tickets to the Night of 1000 Jack-O’-Lanterns events. Featuring more than 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins—some as large as 150 pounds it is better categorized as an outdoor art gallery with pumpkins as the main medium for the art form. Given the 2020 pandemic, the safety precautions were plenty – masks required, one-way path, completely outdoors, and socially distanced displays to help thin out the crowd more. The pumpkins this year were hand carved by artists from and were displayed in themes from Countries, Sports, Movies, Chicago People, Chicago endangered species, and my favorites Day of the Dead and Tribute to our Frontline workers.

The image of Goddess Durga carved on a pumpkin so exquisitely was a surprise.

The series of carvings of the Day of the Dead images was one I spent a considerable time on and might have to print and frame as a collection.

2020 is a year that we will never forget. Over 100 million lives impacted, more than a million lives lost already and times like these require heroes. This year the heroes don’t wear capes but masks!

The event is totally worth it. So if tickets become available grab them or mark it on your calendar for next year. We know we have.

Link to the event:

Link to Chicago Botanic Garden Photo Album: