On the hunt for family-friendly festivities in the lead-up to Halloween? Look no further than Dollywood, where sunset brings a visual feast that is kookier than it is spooky.
Part of Dollywood’s beloved Harvest Festival, the Great Pumpkin LumiNights take over when the sun goes down. Suddenly, the park’s quaint harvest decor transforms into stunning and vibrant displays. The autumn festival takes over Dollywood’s Timber Canyon, bringing over 12,000 beautifully carved and illuminated pumpkins to an area of the park that, during the day, is best known for its old-fashioned logging-inspired decor.
Like any event at Dollywood, the Great Pumpkin LumiNights delivers both visual splendor and delightful music. From slightly ominous background music to toe-tapping party tunes, the amazing soundtrack takes the event to a whole new level.
If you’re craving an autumn treat, you’re in luck; several mouthwatering delicacies are served during Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights. If you’re all about pumpkin spice, you’ll adore the park’s unique pumpkin-inspired take on funnel cake. Take your ice cream sundae to the next level with an infusion of caramel apple.
A few of our favorite activities include:
Set aside at least an hour to stroll through Timber Canyon and take in the beauty of expertly carved pumpkins set aglow. If you also stop by for the harvest festival earlier in the day, you’ll be astounded by how dramatically different this part of the park can look in the space of just a few hours.
Several of the event’s pumpkins have the carved jack-o’-lantern faces you might expect, but other carvings are more elaborate. Kids especially love the pumpkins resembling cats, dogs, and owls. One of the park’s most impressive displays is designed to look like a spider featuring a giant jack-o’-lantern at the center. Another displays looks like a guitar — a lovely homage to Dollywood’s music-focused atmosphere. You’ll also find gravestones, spider webs, and other Halloween-themed decor interspersed throughout Timber Canyon.
Character Meet and Greet
Find the perfect spooky filter for your smartphone — with so many adorable characters hanging out in Timber Canyon, you’ll struggle to stop snapping pictures. Young children are especially fond of the event’s meet and greet opportunities. Favorite characters include Harvey the Pumpkin and Vine Vinny, who are always happy to pose for photos.
Meeting Master Carvers
The pumpkins themselves are fascinating, of course, but a chat with one of the geniuses behind these displays could be even more enjoyable. During the event, several master carvers are available to answer your questions and provide valuable insight into the best pumpkin carving techniques. You’ll emerge from this interaction feeling inspired to create your own miniature version of the Great Pumpkin LumiNights at home.
Pumpkin Boogie Dance Party
Dance the night away in the heart of Dollywood with a party like no other. Featuring festive music (including such seasonal favorites as “Purple People Eater”), costumed characters, and even glow-in-the-dark juggling, this event is bound to delight visitors of all ages. Don’t feel bashful if you’re not sure which dance moves to bust out; a host will be on hand to teach you the latest pumpkin-inspired moves. Even sitting to the side and observing is fun — you might be stationary, but you’ll quickly find yourself tapping your toes to the catchy music.
Whether you participate in the dance party or are simply content to meander through Timber Canyon, you’ll find plenty to feast your eyes on as you tour Dollywood at night.
Expect crowds, especially if you visit during an October weekend. If you don’t plan on attending the pumpkin boogie party, take the opportunity to tour the displays while everybody else is dancing.
-If you want time to check out all of the usual Dollywood attractions (music shows, rides, and so on), you’ll definitely need a full day to take it all in. Great Pumpkin LumiNights alone takes at least an hour to explore — and more if it’s crowded.