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Go to Glensheen and help carve community's pumpkins

Jack-o'-lanterns at the Glensheen decorate the mansion at a previous year's "Spooktacular" event. See the stories below to find out how you can carve a pumpkin -- for free -- this week at the Glensheen. (Submitted photo)

For many people, Halloween is about dressing up, getting or giving out candy. But for the staff at the Glensheen Mansion, Halloween is all about the pumpkins -- specifically, 1,000 hand-carved pumpkins.

Starting Saturday, Oct. 19, community volunteers of all ages will team up to carve 1,000 pumpkins for the Glensheen's third annual Jack O' Lantern Spooktacular. If you would like to carve a pumpkin, come to the Glensheen, which will be open from 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday, Oct. 23. Everyone who carves a pumpkin will get a free pass to the opening night of Spooktacular on Thursday, Oct. 24.

All the tools you need to carve will be available, so all you have to bring is your creativity.

"It's nice. No set-up or clean-up, just come and carve," Glensheen's office manager Christina Johnson said.

Johnson is no stranger to carving pumpkins. She has carved pumpkins for the Spooktacular the past two years. Currently, there is a pumpkin that she carved to look like the Glensheen sitting outside the Glensheen office.

"I feel that too often adults don't express themselves creatively. And Halloween is this opportunity for them to come and make something," said Glensheen's marketing director Lucie Amundsen. "And the stakes are low -- I mean, it's a pumpkin."

However, you don't have to be an experienced carver like Johnson to participate. Even the classic smiling jack-o'-lantern has its place in the Spooktacular.

"There will be a montage of pumpkins all grinning. Mike Lowe, our lead volunteer, calls it the 'smile zone,'" said Amundsen.

But if carving isn't your forte, you could always lend a hand by helping gut the pumpkins. Amundsen says that there are some volunteers who come just to gut the pumpkins and that they could always use some more. According to Johnson, gutting can be especially fun for children.

And where do the 1,000 pumpkins come from? Various places, Amundsen said. About 400 of them come from the farm at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The rest come from either Home Depot or Cub Foods.

"And with a thousand pumpkins, I'm always rather impressed at how many people in the community come out and take part in it. That's probably the most magical part of the event -- seeing the community come out and come together just to make this event possible," said Johnson.

And "magical" is a word that Amundsen and Johnson use a lot to describe the Spooktacular.

But, like Amundsen says, "How often do you get the chance to see a thousand carved jack-o'-lanterns?"