• If haunted houses aren't your thing, consider The Great Pumpkin Ball at Montreal's Botanical Gardens instead.
  • Take in amazing pumpkin creations all month long and don't be afraid to create your own!
  • If your festive Halloween pumpkin is a hit you could win $250! 

Yep, it's decorative gourd season alright. And kicking off one of the biggest decorative gourd contests is the Botanical Gardens with "The Great Pumpkin Ball," a less scary alternative to all the horrifying Halloween events this month.

Over 800 squashes and pumpkins will be carved, costumed, wigged, dressed, and painted to compete in the competition. And if it's anything like the last few years the results are awesome.

Anyone can enter their imaginative gourds for free with the chance to win cash prizes.  You have to check them out. I had no idea there could be so many visionary gourd designers hiding in our midst. 

Last year there were 14 prizes ranging from $50 to $250. So if you've ever dreamt of creating a pumpkin for the world to see, you can enter your masterpiece at the Main Greenhouse in the gardens before 7 p.m on October 14.

But making the trip is worth it just to see all the entries, some are seriously hilarious. The Pumpkin Ball will be open from October 4 - 31. And don't worry, all the pumpkins are composted at the end. 

There is also a Squash Kiosk where you can "learn everything you've ever wanted to know about the gourd family... little ones, fat ones, round or warty ones"...which is already more than I ever thought I needed to know. 

According to the official rules, Pumpkins may not be carved or hollowed out, which solves one question. And if you enter a pumpkin, say your goodbyes beforehand. Applicants are not able to reclaim their pumpkins after the contest. 

Aren't they freaking adorable? 

Entries are judged on originality, quality, the suitability of the title.  And, since the Botanical Gardens prides itself on being an eco-friendly spot, they also consider contestants' use of inexpensive and recycled materials. 

READ MORE: This Trendy Wine Bar Hidden In A Laval Strip Mall Has $3 Oysters & A Giant Terrasse

Esmerelda, the esteemed local witch will also be on hand for tours through the competition. 

You can also win based on size, since they hold a contest for largest pumpkin, as well. While that may seem boring in comparison, last year's winner weighed in at nearly 1,500 pounds. 

If haunted houses or horror festivals aren't your thing and would prefer a bit of whimsy with your Halloween, The Great Pumpkin Ball may be right up your alley. 


The Great Pumpkin Ball

When: October 4 to October 31; 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: Botanical Gardens, 4101 Rue Sherbrooke Est

Cost: $16 for adults with all access to the Botanical Gardens


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