HIGHWOOD, Ill. — The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival has returned this weekend, offering plenty of pumpkins to enjoy, carve and illuminate.

With live music and an invasion of skeletons, thousands of pumpkins fill up the landscape at this festival, allowing families to carve up some fall fun.

After taking last year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual tradition is lighting up North Suburban Highwood once again, with this year’s fest spread across the town to avoid overcrowding.

“It’s really just a super organized, friendly community. It’s like Mayberry for those who know Mayberry, it’s like Mayberry here in Highwood,” Celebrate Highwood President Brad Slavin said.

Celebrate Highwood is the organization that hosts the festival, estimating that more than 20,000 people attended this year’s event.

“It’s tremendous. We’re so happy and thrilled to be back and the community has really come out in support of us,” Slavin said.

There’s plenty to see and do, with costume contests and pumpkin carving all leading up to the grand ceremonial wall lighting, illuminating over 10,000 Jack-O-Lanterns.

No entry fees were charged this year, though visitors were encouraged to donate to benefit the Highland Park High School Charity Drive.