AMES, Iowa- Reiman Gardens is kicking off its annual Spirits in the Garden event on Friday the 13th.
Spirits in the Garden started in 2006 as a trick-or-treat event, but in 2015 they added Jack-o-lanterns to the fun.
Nathan Brockman is an entomologist at Reiman Gardens. He was behind bringing the Jack-o-lanterns to Spirits in the Gardens. Brockman grew up in Fort Madison and a Halloween event there displayed 500 Jack-o-lanterns.
In 2015, Reiman Gardens started displaying 500 carved pumpkins during their event, but now the pumpkins have grown to over 1,000.
Ed Lyon is the Director of Reiman Gardens. He said that this event is unlike any spooky event in Iowa.
“You’re going to be walking through 17 acres of hundreds of carved Jack-o-lanterns, so just the sheer quantity really surprises people, but the other is that they are hand carved,” Lyon said.
The standard triangle and square Jack-o-lanterns are far from what is displayed at the Spirits in the Garden.
Hundreds of volunteers helped in carving the pumpkins. Every year, this event brings in so many volunteers. This year, they had to turn people away.
Kim Hope is the Volunteer Director. She said that there are two ways to become a volunteer next year. The first is to be a volunteer at the Reiman Gardens. These volunteers will work to create stencils for carving throughout the year. The other is to sign up on their website as early as next August to be a carver.
Many of these volunteers were students at Iowa State University. Student-run clubs and groups will also host activities for people to enjoy. Some of these activities include bringing animals like bats and snakes, chemistry experiments, juggling, and more.
Times tickets are required for the event. Tickets can be purchased online.
On Friday the 13th and Friday the 20th, no candy will be distributed. Instead, there will be a bar for adults to enjoy.
During the weekend of October 14-15 and October 22-23, they will be distributing candy and providing a plethora of shows and activities for attendees to enjoy.