This October, meet in the center of Michigan in the Village of Shepherd, where you will find 1,000 jack-o-lanterns stacked on one city block! Free and open to the public, this annual tradition keeps visitors amused and coming back for more year after year. Keep reading to learn more about this small-town event that has garnered big attention.

Pumpkins lined up along sidewalk

Pumpkin Beginnings

This larger-than-life Halloween tradition first started in 2014 at Kent Roth’s house in Shepherd, Michigan, and has become a Halloween tradition that community members look forward to every year. Roth, owner of the Shepherd Bar & Restaurant, said he got the idea while visiting South Carolina, where he came across a house that displayed about 5,000 pumpkins in their yard. Taking this idea back to home to Michigan, he and his family decided to carve 250 pumpkins that year.

CMU pumpkin

Gourd Big or Go Home

Doubling this number each year, Roth eventually found himself with 1,000 individually carved pumpkins in his yard with the help of local volunteers. Every year dozens of community members come out to help with all stages of the pumpkin carving process. According to Roth, about 150 people would show up to help before the COVID-19 pandemic. With this many volunteers, the entire process of pumpkin carving only takes about 4-5 hours! Roth is always happy to welcome volunteers and will be sure to find everyone at job, whether it be gutting the pumpkins or carving unique designs.

Various stacked jack-o-lanterns

2023 Pumpkin Display

Mark your calendars, the pumpkins are usually on display the last week of October leading up to Halloween (10/27 through 10/31)! Don’t miss your chance to see this whimsical Halloween display as you stroll the path between dazzling jack-o-lanterns that light up the entire block. Be sure to stop by the Shepherd Bar & Restaurant afterwards to warm up and grab a bite to eat with family and friends.

The next day, Roth will leave all the pumpkins to the side of the road for people to take for deer or other animal feed. It’s first come first serve, and these pumpkins tend to go fast!

Looking to help volunteer this year? Pumpkin carving will begin at 10am on Sunday, October 23, at Roth’s house located behind the Shepherd Bar. Volunteers can choose to carve whatever they please, so be sure to bring a friend and some spooky, Halloween spirit!

Meet Mt. Pleasant

Be sure to use the #meetmtp when visiting the Shepherd pumpkin display this year, the Mt. Pleasant CVB might just feature you on their social media! Don’t forget to follow the CVB on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok or download the Meet Mt. Pleasant mobile app on iPhone or Android devices to stay up to date on the latest going on in central Michigan!

To see more October events in the Mt. Pleasant area, check out the Calendar of Events.