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Putting on a glowing display

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By Kelly Dolejsi

An uncarved pumpkin is just a blank, seed-filled canvas. Each year, the community looks forward to seeing pumpkins transformed, some into classic Jack-o-lanterns with triangle eyes and toothy grins, others into something else – intricately carved portraits of witches speeding by on their brooms or of characters from the Simpsons.  

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One of the best parts of Halloween is seeing all the best work lit up in a long eerie line, a sort of pumpkin masquerade.

Beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, the Los Alamos Arts Council will present its eighth annual Pumpkin Glow on the lawn outside Fuller Lodge. The event features hundreds of pumpkins carved by community members. Everyone is encouraged to participate.  

Individuals may drop off carved pumpkins from 1-3 p.m. Friday on the Fuller Lodge lawn.

The objective is to enhance cultural activities in Los Alamos for a broad range of the community, to provide a safe Halloween activity and to attract people from outside the greater Los Alamos area to this special event, said Executive Director Marlane Hamilton.

“The event benefits Downtown Los Alamos by virtue of taking place in the middle of town at Fuller Lodge,” she said. “People who come to the Pumpkin Glow also visit places of business in the downtown area. Nearby merchants see their business significantly increase as a result of this event.

“The event also promotes purchasing pumpkins, carving tools and supplies from local businesses, she said.

The collaborative efforts of a number of businesses make this event successful.

“We have been working with MainStreet since the inception of the Pumpkin Glow,” Hamilton said. “We continue our collaboration with Village Arts. We decorate the window display for the month of October. Village Arts sells pumpkin carving tools and sponsors the Pumpkin Carving Party. We continue our collaboration with Smith’s, as they donate 30 pumpkins for the children at the Pumpkin Carving Party. Smith’s also sells carving tools now and has increased the number of seasonal items for Halloween as a result of this event.”

She added that the CoffeeHouse Café has come to the event and sold pumpkin pie, hot chocolate and coffee to people in line. LANB has handed out glow-in-the-dark necklaces, which has made the event more festive while providing a measure of safety, making it easier for parents to spot their children as they roam on the grounds.

This year, the Pumpkin Glow is on the same night as Trick or Treat on MainStreet. The LAAC expects anywhere from1,500-2,000 people to attend the Pumpkin Glow.  These numbers are based on previous Pumpkin Glow attendance.

The Los Alamos Arts Council’s annual Pumpkin Glow is a tradition and no matter how many years you go, always an experience.  

Kelly Dolejsi is a member of the Los Alamos Arts Council.