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Hallowe'en event in Greenfield Village showcases jack-o-lanterns, cider, pumpkin-carving robot

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DEARBORN, Mich. – Hallowe'en nights in Greenfield Village is an annual event with a mile-long path for trick-or-treaters to follow and encounter storybook characters that are spooky, fun and magical. 

Along the path are 1,100 hand-carved jack-o'-lanterns that are replaced each Wednesday during the three weeks in October Hallowe'en Nights is offered. 

All of the pumpkins are gutted and carved in one day. Local 4 wanted to see the process to get all of the pumpkins ready for the Halloween event and got access behind the scenes. 

A group of about 15 to 20 employees start Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. cutting open and gutting all of the pumpkins so they are ready when volunteers arrive at 5 p.m. 

Jim Johnson, curator of historic structures and landscapes and general manager of special events at The Henry Ford, says all 1,100 pumpkins are hand-carved by volunteers essentially. Some are museum staff or volunteers, and they bring family and friends to help out.  Art students from the Henry Ford Academy also volunteer to carve pumpkins.  

In all, 150 to 200 volunteers start carving about 5 p.m., and usually, all of the pumpkins are carved by 7:15 p.m.  

The pumpkin plunking crew then takes the pumpkins and places them along the path. Each night of Hallowe'en Nights, staff go around and light the candles in the pumpkins. 

Fifty of the 1,100 pumpkins are carved by PunkinBOT, a machine created by the Van Diepenbos family of Goshen, Indiana. The machine carves intricate designs in five minutes or less. 

Johnson says there are still tickets available for Hallowe'en Nights. It runs this weekend and next Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information, click here.


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