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VanDusen Halloween Glow in the Garden

VanDusen Glow in the Garden

Glow in the Garden is a family-friendly October event that features carved pumpkins, glowing lights and Halloween fun at Vancouver’s VanDusen Garden.

In 2018 the attraction runs daily from October 19th until the 31st, so for about twice as long as last year. The theme in 2018 is Hänsel and Gretel.

To purchase your tickets click VanDusen Glow in the Garden Tickets.

VanDusen Glow in the Garden

Taking place at VanDusen Botanical Garden in the last half of October, VanDusen Glow in the Garden is arguably one of the region’s best Halloween attractions for young children and overly-timid folk. It’s wonderful for folk of all ages!

At the event, in most years, there might be half a dozen or so skeletons scattered around the place, but far less scary stuff than almost any other spooky event in town, which makes it especially popular for young families and tiny folk with nervous dispositions.

Last year the event had an Alice-in-Wonderland theme, so instead of ghoulish characters there were pumpkins and other displays of Alice, the White Rabbit, Hatter, and Queen of Hearts. The theme in 2018 is Hänsel and Gretel, so there will be a witch, but again no mummies, zombies or other really freaky stuff.

Hansel and Gretel Actors
Hänsel and Gretel Characters in 2018

Event Location

Glow in the Garden takes place in Vancouver at VanDusen Botanical Garden which is located at 5251 Oak Street with the entrance to parking just off West 37th Avenue. The parking lot isn’t huge though, especially for special events of this size, and so most people find parking somewhere else along the street.

The actual event takes place indoors in the Visitor Centre and in the garden just outside the centre, on one side of Livingstone Lake, in front of the Shaughnessy Restaurant and around the Formal Rose Garden. In the event’s first year, two seasons ago, pumpkins were displayed all around VanDusen’s Woodland Garden. In 2017, however, the main part of the attraction was just south of that area. This year, in 2018, the venue is bigger than it has ever been.

Glow in the Garden takes up a fair bit of space, but not the entire property by any means.

VanDusen Halloween Skeleton

Times and Dates

VanDusen Glow in the Garden is open daily between 4:30 and 9:00 pm in the days leading up to Halloween night on October 31st. Last year the event ran for the last week or so of October. In 2018 it runs for a full 13 days, from Friday, October 19th, until Halloween night.

New for 2018, the attraction has three time slots for each evening. In previous years, visitors could arrive at the attraction whenever they wanted. In 2018, however, people have to choose specific times. This helps control traffic and ensures the place doesn’t get overly crowded and that the lineups are manageable.

Time slots for viewing VanDusen Glow in the Garden in 2018 are 4:30 to 6:00 pm, 6:00 until 7:30 pm, and 7:30 until 9:00 pm.

VanDusen Pumplin Spider Display
A previous year’s display of hand-carved Jack-o-lanterns

Admission Fees

Prices for the Halloween event in 2018, including taxes and online fees, are the following:

  • Adults (ages 19 to 64) – $12.50 online and $13.50 at the gate
  • Seniors (ages 65+) – $10.50 online and $11.50 at the gate
  • Youth (ages 13 to 18) – $10.50 online and $11.50 at the gate
  • VanDusen Garden Members – $10.50 online and $11.50 at the gate
  • Children (ages 3  to 12) – $8.50 online and $9.00 at the gate
  • Tots & Infants (ages 2 and under) – Free

Tickets can be bought on the day at the door or in advance online.

To purchase your tickets click VanDusen Glow in the Garden Tickets.

What to Expect

At VanDusen Glow in the Garden expect to see young families with small children in costumes, dozens of amazingly-carved Jack-o-lanterns, and lit up pathways through the trees. There is also fun spooky Disney-kind-of music and moaning sounds, crafts for children, pumpkins, festival foods and apple cider for sale.

The highlight of VanDusen Glow in the Garden is all the many beautifully hand-carved Jack-o-lanterns by award-winning master carvers. Accompanying the various displays of artwork are illuminations among the trees, kid-friendly music and colourful lights and pumpkins lining the trails. Perhaps more than in previous years, there is also a large selection of inflatable Halloween characters spread around the venue.

At VanDusen Glow in the Garden in 2018 one half of the venue has displays featuring scenes from the Hänsel and Gretel story made popular years ago by the Brothers Grimm. The other half of the venue is full of pumpkins and other Halloween-ish scenes.


Inflatable Halloween Ghost Characters
Inflatable Ghost Characters Display in 2018

VanDusen Halloween Themes

Glow in the Garden celebrates its third anniversary in 2018 at VanDusen Garden. In its first year the place was full of intricately carved Jack-o-lanterns and the occasional skeleton. Last year there was an Alice-in-Wonderland theme with the White Rabbit, Alice, the Queen of Hearts and other Lewis Carol characters.

At the Alice in Wonderland-themed event there were Christmas-style lights in the trees as well as Jack-o-lanterns placed on wooden cut-out bodies and intricately carved as the heads of Alice-in-Wonderland characters. If you looked closely you’d see that the glowing faces were actually real pumpkins! They were amazing!

In 2018 the theme is Hänsel and Gretel, so expect more of the same sparkling and glowing lights and Jack-o-lanterns, but also a witch and her cookie and candy-covered house. There will also no doubt be bread crumbs along the trails.

One thing we really like about the 2018 event is the story and the fact that it’s all written out along the trails at VanDusen Garden. While you wander the Hänsel and Gretel half of the attraction you can read the story along the way (which is especially nice if you’ve never heard it before).

Hansel and Gretel Characters at VanDusen
Hänsel and Grete in 2018

How Big is the Attraction?

VanDusen Glow in the Garden is a large event, but not huge. It’s pretty big, but not quite on the scale of VanDusen’s Festival of Lights at Christmas time (which is also exceptional).

The Halloween attraction actually only takes up a fraction of the entire VanDusen property – just the area in and around the Visitor Centre and a few acres on either side of Livingstone Lake. It’s not a massive area, but a respectable size for little children. It’s also a fair bit larger than what it has been in previous years.

Expect to stay at the event anywhere between 30 minutes and a couple of hours. If you rush you can see it all in half an hour. If you go slowly, admire all the decorations closely, and do some of the craft activities, you can be there for up to a couple of hours or even more.


Glow in the Garden Pumpkin Face

Tips and Tricks

Below are suggestions on how to make the most of your trip.

TIP #1: Go in costume so you and your kids can take part in the free craft activities and have even more fun! If you don’t want to wear a costume, however, you don’t have to.

TIP #2: Unless you or your children are seriously afraid of the dark, don’t go before 6:30 pm at the earliest – the attraction and its glow are best seen at night.

TIP #3: Although the attraction is better later in the evening, if you go early and find you’re hungry it’s good to know that the Shaughnessy Restaurant just outside has Happy Hour with discounted drinks and appetizers from 3 until 5 pm. There are also food vendors on site at the event.

TIP #4: The closer the date to Halloween and the better the weather, the more crowded VanDusen Glow in the Garden is going to be, and the more likely the event will sell out. Don’t like crowds? Then go on a rainy day and before the Halloween weekend.

TIP #5: Read the tale about Hänsel and Gretel before you go! It’ll refresh your memory about the story and make some of the displays more interesting.

TIP #6: The event sells out on some nights, including on the weekend just before Halloween. Book in advance to avoid disappointment!

TIP #7: In past years at least, there are usually tickets still available at the gate after online tickets have all sold out. Those too though also eventually sell out. To avoid disappointment and unnecessary waits in line, reserve your spot well in advance!

Halloween for Kids

Other Information

For further information about Vancouver’s famous botanical garden in general, see VanDusen Garden.

For more information about the Halloween event, click VanDusen Glow 2018.

For details about VanDusen Garden’s spectacular Christmas-themed attraction, check out the Festival of Lights.

For other great Halloween activities for young families, check out Vancouver Children’s Halloween Activities.

For a list of Halloween attractions in other parts of town, click Lower Mainland Haunted Houses or Vancouver Events at Halloween.

To purchase your tickets click VanDusen Glow in the Garden Tickets.





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