Leaves are turning, and the air is cooling, which means it is time for Newfields’ fourth annual Harvest Nights.

Running now through Oct. 31, Harvest Nights returns with nearly 2,500 glowing jack-o’-lanterns on the Pumpkin Path of Peril, the Ghost Train, the hauntingly decorated Mischief Manor in the Lilly House and spooky monster art installations in the garden. Harvest Nights is Newfields’ way of combining all the best things about fall with fun for the whole family, said Jonathan Berger, executive director of Harvest Nights.

“This is the fourth year of Harvest Nights, and it’s everything that you love about fall in Indiana, here on our campus,” Berger said. “First and foremost, there are probably over 30,000 pumpkins that we have here on our campus.”

This year’s Harvest Nights and the following fall festivities are bound to be bigger and spookier than ever, as Berger said they have increased the number of jack-o’-lanterns on the Pumpkin Path of Peril — which are donated to the Indianapolis Zoo after the season is over — updated the projections on the Lilly House for Mischief Manor, and are offering the Wicked Wonder Pass for Halloween super fans.

Lindsay Jo Whirley, assistant director of Culinary Operations and certified cicerone at Newfields, said the menu for Harvest Nights is a “combination of curated offerings from local and regional partnerships along with carefully selected award-winning products from different parts of the country,” such as Hotel Tango Distillery, Ash & Elm Cider Co. — which has a featured ingredient in Uncle Nearest Whiskey Applejack — Just Pop In! and Half Liter.

Newfields’ fourth annual family-friendly, fall-themed event Harvest Nights takes place evenings and weekends through Oct. 31, 2023. (Photo provided/Courtesy of Newfields)

Additional seasonal food and beverages available include cinnamon Bavarian crème churros, Bavarian pretzels, caramel corn and Hotel Tango Distillery’s Spooky Campfire Cocoa. There will also be an assortment of draft beers from Elysian Brewing Co., including Night Owl Pumpkin Ale.

READ MORE: This weekend in the arts: Oct. 6-8

Beyond Harvest Nights, Erin Kilhefner, manager of seasonal and festival programs at Newfields, said they are bringing back its Film & Drag Performance series with a screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” Oct. 21. The 18+ screening will include a shadow cast of eight local drag entertainers performing alongside the show. Tickets are $55 for members and $65 for nonmembers and include prop bags and admission to Harvest Nights. 

“When we talk about programs and what we want to offer, we want to make sure that it’s fun; it’s accessible. We are working with local companies, local artists, local vendors to highlight them,” Kilhefner said. “It’s a really special time to be on campus, and the experiences are for everyone to participate in and to make it feel even more special.”

VIP access for Film & Drag Performance: “Rocky Horror Picture Show” includes a meet-and-greet with the performers, photo opportunities and drink tickets. VIP tickets are only available for guests 21 years and older and are $70 for members and $80 for nonmembers.

On Oct. 14, Newfields will host a Make Your Own Monster workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, where guests can learn to create their own spooky monsters from the artists who designed and installed Garden Monsters. The class is $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers, and tickets can be purchased at discovernewfields.org.

Black Brew Fest, which takes place Oct. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in The Garden will feature local and regional Black businesses specializing in beer, wine, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. Tickets are $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers.

Art or Treat night, which will take place Oct. 29-31 during the 7-8:30 p.m. slots, features an exclusive Halloween excursion for all ages with eight trick-or-treat stations offering candy and allergen-friendly treats, such as bubbles, art supplies and more.

“The thing that I really enjoy about Harvest Nights is no matter how old you are, whether you’re a toddler, or parents, or grandparents, when you step onto the pumpkin patch, you feel like a kid again,” Berger said. “It’s really great to see the expressions on people’s faces as they kind of round the corner and see over 2,500 carved jack-o’-lanterns all lit and the Ghost Train that cuts through our campus.”

Tickets for Harvest Nights begin at $24. For more information and upcoming fall events at Newfields, visit discovernewfields.org/harvest.

Contact staff writer Chloe McGowan at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @chloe_mcgowanxx.