Family Fun at Pumpkinferno

by Stephen Johnson

It is always nice to have family traditions to mark certain holidays.   For us, one of those traditions is to go to Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village to celebrate the Halloween season.

Upper Canada Village is located about one hour south of Ottawa along the St. Lawrence River. Every October, the Village is turned into a feast for the eyes as pumpkins are carved and turned into fantastical displays.

We arrived at the site having bought our tickets online.   The full moon only added to the ambiance.   Upon entering the village I was amazed how it was transformed.   Lit up pumpkins were everywhere.   The first display that really caught my attention was fish of the St. Lawerence.   There were life-size replicas of various fish – none that I have personally caught, but perhaps next year!


Our son, David, really enjoyed the comical pumpkins.   They were carved with hilarious faces and David made plans to carve our own pumpkins with funny expressions.   My wife, Sandy, liked the display of zodiac signs particularly, Libra which just happens to be her sign.

For the entire family, the one highlight was the musical pumpkins, It was a light show that illuminated the pumpkins in synchronicity to classical music.   The end result was spectacular. David started dancing in rhythm with the music.

We ended our visit to the village by seeing the fiery dragon display. It was so lifelike, I thought it could breath fire. Near the dragon there were various tents set up including a food tent and a display of pumpkins designed by school children in the area.

All of this pumpkin excitement had worked up our appetites so we stopped for a bite in the visitor’s centre cafe enjoying a grilled cheese sandwich made from bread and cheese produced on site and of course, a hot chocolate.   There are numerous food options at Pumpkinferno including fine dining at Willard’s Hotel.

One thing I like about Pumpkinferno is that it is a Halloween activity where you do not have to worry about the fear factor. It really is an activity for the entire family. You will not have to worry about your kids having nightmares even though they may have dreams about pumpkins!

I would also recommend to buy tickets ahead of time online. It is a very popular event and the lineup for tickets can be long. Pre-paid, online will save you time.   Also, it is an outdoor event so dress appropriately.   For more information about Pumpkinferno and Upper Canada Village, visit,


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