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Master of Scaremonies
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Boston sets Halloween "Jack-o'-lantern" record

By Svea Herbst-BaylissSat Oct 21, 10:55 PM ET

Bathed in the orange glow of illuminated "Jack-o'-lanterns," Boston smashed a world record on Saturday when thousands of volunteers lit the largest number of Halloween pumpkins ever assembled in one place.

"We have just busted past 29,000 lit pumpkins, this is so wow," shouted John Jacobs, whose Boston-based T-shirt company Life is good sponsored the extravaganza that turned Boston's historic Common into fields of blazing orange orbs.

Volunteers started lining up the pumpkins donated by local farms on Wednesday. The pumpkins were then carved out and lit from the inside with candles. By Saturday evening, dozens of latecomers were still rushing to let accountants number their gourds and add them to the final tally.

Just how long Boston's record will hold however won't be clear for another few hours, Jacobs said.

Keene, New Hampshire, a city northwest of Boston, has held the record with 28,952 lighted pumpkins since 2003 and vowed to defend its title by illuminating 30,000 this year.

But Bostonians were just as determined.

"We are going to try our best to beat them this year," said Janet Sullivan as she placed candles into pumpkins she brought and wedged them into a line snaking along a paved walkway.

Last year, the organizers counted 24,500 pumpkins on Boston's Common.

And for people not involved in the competition -- organizers estimated hundreds of thousands of people came just to look on Saturday -- there was plenty to see and do.

Parents hoisted children high on their shoulders to have a sweeping view while some youngsters knelt on the ground inspecting the glowing gourds individually.

"Isn't this amazingly beautiful?" Jennifer Barragan asked her friend as she caught sight a multitiered structure that held thousands of pumpkins and anchored the exhibition.

After all the "oohs" and "ahhs," many visitors had one more stop to make. "Pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie," shouted toddlers Max and Barbara, dragging their mother to the tent that sold the seasonal pastries made with the pumpkins' flesh.
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