With Halloween just around the counter, it’s time to share the final shots from this year’s Jack O’Lantern Spectacular at The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island! As covered in our first chapter HERE, the theme this is year The United States of America with intricately carved pumpkins depicting scenes from our country’s history along with its 50 states (such as Idaho, above). These are scattered among others that can be as playful as LEGO’s or as gruesome as blood-soaked Care Bears. Halloween is synonymous with special treats, so enjoy this relatively “wordless” blog in favor of a little “eye candy!”
Ever since zombies have effectively crawled their way into our popular culture, I’ve always wished that Hollywood would take the whole undead thing into a new direction and see what an apocalypse would look like if the only ones affected were animals. I suppose it hasn’t been tackled yet on account of such an endeavor being too costly; especially if done correctly with old school special FX and not the kind of garbage one sees on the SyFy Channel. Fortunately, the creative minds at The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island give us a gruesome taste via their annual Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular! This year features some carvings dedicated to reanimated creatures…great (like the awesome elephant pictured above) and small. Let’s take a further look…
Each year, Terror Dave Albaugh’s Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island, puts on their premiere Halloween fundraiser ala’ Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular! I first saw this event two years ago and would go on to cover it both on this site (along with my Brookfield Zoo’s Creatures of the Night that year HERE) as well as in an issue of Scary Monsters Magazine. I would return the following year and find myself equally mesmerized.
The seeds of this event were actually sewn during Svengoolie’s appearance at “The Squared Circle” (covered HERE). I mentioned in that post meeting a couple of zoo keepers from The Lincoln Park Zoo; one of whom, Marisa, had arrived with local Chicago Red-eye writer, Elliott Serano. Elliott’s a fellow Svengoolie fan and had just written a big story on the host. He’d brought Marisa along that night so she could sign folks up for her zoo’s AAZK Chapter’s (American Association of Zoo Keepers) “Bowling for Rhinos” with Sven as one of their celebrity guests. Svengoolie has graciously assisted my own Brookfield Zoo AAZK chapter with our annual Vital Grounds fundraiser (providing opportunities for the New England Terror Dave, David Albaugh, to meet him as covered HERE and HERE) and accepted her invitation…even if appearing only as his mild-mannered alter ego, Rich Koz.
Like most conventions, the 2013 Indianapolis Days of the Dead was spread across several large rooms at the hotel. Russ and I left the beautiful Jordan Ladd (a meeting covered in my last chapter) and embarked on what was to be the first of many walk throughs (which is why you’ll see us wearing different clothes in this post) of the dealer’s room. There were actually two main rooms designated for dealers, with some located out in the adjoining hallways. Although there were other guests we planned on meeting, they were located in one of these areas as opposed to the one exclusive to celebs
Anyone who really knows me understands that, interest-wise, I’m driven by two major things; zoos (animals) and genre films (horror, sci-fi, fantasy). I’ve been affiliated with my local Brookfield Zoo for the better part of 13 years and, as it was the zoo I grew up with and inspired my love of animals, consider it a sacred place. These past few years have been like a dream come true as my two worlds have finally begun to merge with regular guest appearances from my beloved horror host, Svengoolie. These happen each spring for our annual AAZK (American Association of Zoo Keepers) Spaghetti dinner as well as the zoo’s night time Halloween event, “Creatures of the Night.”
This past week, I had the unique opportunity to experience two zoo Halloween attractions located over a thousand miles from each other. Both Daves are volunteer docents (from the Greek word “to teach”) at their respective zoos and enjoy sharing their important conservation messages with thier guests. I have been affiliated with Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo for over 13 years (both as employee and volunteer) and David Albaugh joined his zoo (Roger Williams Park in Rhode Island) earlier this year. Before I continue, let me state that this is NOT a compare/contrast piece. Each year, numerous guests at the zoo will say things to me like, “Your zoo is better than mine,” “My zoo is better than yours,” etc. The truth is, all Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos are not in competition with one another. In fact, it is quite the contrary. These non-profit organizations all work together for the singular purpose of doing important conservation research around the world (which most of the public is unaware of ) while also educating and connecting their visitors with nature during their recreational visits.