Photo: Pumpkins After Dark

Harvest and Halloween Happenings

By Sandra Sperounes

A gourd time

Enjoy an autumn stroll of jack-o’-lanterns as part of the first Pumpkins After Dark in Edmonton. From Sept. 29–Oct. 31, more than 6,000 hand-carved pumpkins will light up Borden Park, arranged in various art sculptures and installations—including a T-Rex, a fire truck, Halloween themed and even a pumpkin tunnel. “They’re a combination of real pumpkins and what we call funkins,” says Kevin Blackburn, co-owner of Lantern Events. “All the pumpkins you see on the large displays are ‘funkins,’ which are fake pumpkins. They have the same feel and consistency as real ones, so we can carve them.” Lantern Events rolled out Alberta’s first Pumpkins After Dark at Calgary’s WinSport last year. Blackburn added extra nights to the Halloween walk-thru event just to meet popular demand. Check out the entire cast of pumpkin characters from Sept. 22–Oct. 31.

Sky-high hues

Admire southern Alberta’s fall colours from the sky during the Heritage Inn Hot Air Balloon Festival in High River (Sept. 21–25). Take a ride—or gaze from the ground—as dozens of balloons floatover freshly harvested fields. Event director Jamie Kinghorn says autumn is ideal for ballooning. “The weather’s stability improves during the season, especially in the evenings.” Launched in 2013, the festival includes a navigation competition, where pilots drop markers on targets.

Fairly festive: A selection of autumn-in-Alberta activities

Celebrate Buffalo Harvest Days at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump World Heritage Site. Also, learn about the ancient bison harvest and the culture of the Blackfoot people in southern Alberta. Sept. 23–25

Get lost in one of the province’s most a-maize-ing attractions. The Lacombe Corn Maze, located on the Kraay Family Farm, features a new 15-acre design each year.  Until Oct. 15

Marvel at some giant gourds at the Smoky Lake Great White North Pumpkin Fair. First comes a weigh-off, then watch a few get squashed during the infamous pumpkin drop. Oct. 1

More to Read
In addition, check out more autumn events across Canada.

Trick or Treat:  Celebrate Halloween month with songs and sweets

Scare up some of Hansen Distillery’s seasonal liqueurs. Every fall, the Edmonton company rolls out limited-edition flavours, such as Pumpkin Spice Cream Liqueur and Mulled Cranberry Moonshine. Available at Remember: Drink responsibly and don’t drive impaired. Designated driver services are available throughout Alberta.

Pumped for pie? Pearson’s Berry Farm in central Alberta is known for its delicious selection—from pumpkin to Saskatoon rhubarb pies. Grab some Thanksgiving (or Halloween) treats at one of Pearson’s retail locations, including Calgary’s CrossIron Mills, the Premium Outlet Collection near Edmonton International Airport, Red Deer’s Bower Place or online at