PumpkinMania brings tricks, treats to Lexington community

The lighting of hundreds of jack-o-lanterns on the steps of Old Morrison is a popular Transylvania University tradition.

Hailey Peters

People of all ages in the Lexington area participated in PumpkinMania at Transylvania University on Oct. 30 for a “spook-tacular” night of fun, frights and family.

Held the night before Halloween, PumpkinMania promised a free night that brought the Lexington community together with all the season’s most iconic festivities.

The evening began with trick-or-treating, where businesses and organizations on and near Transylvania’s campus, such as various Transylvania Greek fraternities, the Lexington Public Library and the Lexington Legends, set up tables with free candy all along the sidewalk on Transy’s front lawn. People were encouraged to visit the tables for a chance to learn more about each organization and, of course, get candy.

Trick-or-treating was not the only Halloween staple present at the festival. Most of the crowd was wearing costumes, a live band performed seasonal classics such as “Thriller” and “Superstition,” people took pictures in an ominous photo booth and everyone anticipated the night’s highlight— the lighting of hundreds of jack-o-lanterns on the steps of Old Morrison.

Festival-goers consisted of people of all ages, from young families, to college friend groups to elderly couples. Closer to the pumpkin lighting, the crowd swelled to immense numbers.

“More people are here than I thought there would be,” said Marcy Bashem, an attendant from Lexington. “I know [the city of Lexington] moved trick-or-treating to tonight for the kids because the weather is going to be bad tomorrow. I’m glad so many people decided to stop here for the fun. [Large crowds] make the event more exciting.”

The festival connected the holiday spirit with community engagement. Behind the building of Old Morrison, attendants could find various eating options through local food trucks such as Nathan’s Taqueria and Kentucky Kettle Korn. The items in the food trucks were the only things that attendants had to pay for at the entire event.

Evan Scheller, an attendant from Wilmore, joined the festivities for his second time.

“PumpkinMania is the best thing about Halloween in this area,” Scheller said. “I wouldn’t have let my girlfriend paint my face like a clown for this costume if I wasn’t so excited about tonight. It’s really a local treasure.”

Scheller was not the only one who went all-out on his costume. Many families coordinated their outfits. There were groups dressed as Ghostbusters squads, cookies and milk, and superheroes, just to name a few. Even some of the several dogs that tagged along were in costumes.

The conclusion of the event was the jack-o-lantern lighting, and as the sun went down, the festival-goers surrounded the front of Old Morrison to see the spectacle. An emcee gave 10- and five-minute warnings, and he also counted down the last 10 seconds before the jack-o-lanterns were lit. The crowd joined him in counting down, and the majority cheered and whistled whenever the hundreds of pumpkins were simultaneously lit.

Halloween came a day early this year in Lexington, and many found no better way to spend it than to visit the festive, ghostly and unique PumpkinMania fest. It brought the community together with the chance to celebrate what Scheller described as “what the holiday is all about.”