He presides over what sounds for all the world like a top rock act. Smashing pumpkins.

As in wonderful, wacky and wondrous carved jack-o-lanterns to whimsically light the night of the Halloween season.

Rick Scalf of the local nonprofit agency Advocates For Children loves his cool-ghoul role organizing the annual, free extravaganza now known as Family Chiropractic and Wellness Presents Night of a Thousand Jacks fundraiser Oct. 28 at FairOaks Mall in Columbus. It’s the event where jagged and sniveling smiles of about 200 pumpkins, children’s games, a costume contest, and an overflow of candy sweeten a time of family entertainment for young and old alike.

Plus, a new event, the Dash-O-Lantern 5K Walk/Run, has been added to the day’s schedule. It’s 10 a.m. at Mill Race Park in Columbus.

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“We’ve proven to be a good, fun event that people can drop in on for a while even if they originally are headed somewhere else,” Scalf said.

And it has become a strong and successful financial supporter of the work of Advocates For Children, a nonprofit agency that provides help for children who have been victims of neglect or abuse. In fact, because of sponsorships and money that registered groups already have paid to carve pumpkin patch displays, this year’s event already has topped $20,000 before it has even actually begun.

“We’re going to have a very good year,” Scalf said.

That’s important after last year’s crowd dipped slightly under the usual 4,000-people mark and raised $18,694, according to organizers.

Much of this year’s early credit goes to new $10,000 title sponsor, Family Chiropractic and Wellness, the still-relatively new Washington Street clinic that selected Advocates as its charity for the calendar year — and proceeded to raise a total of $20,000 for the agency via new patient visits.

Advocates For Children uses trained volunteers called Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to recommend to the courts the best options for area youngsters in unfortunate circumstances.

“Without the CASA program, many children would never get the chance to thrive in a safe and stable household,” said Dr. Mandy Wyant of Family Chiropractic and Wellness.

At the Night of a Thousand Jacks, plenty of the children, and even a number of adults, dress in costume. This year, Style Dance Academy will present live entertainment, Scalf said. Plus, the local 501st Legion of Star Wars characters will be on hand for out-of-this-world photos.

Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators in Hope will once again bring owls, ravens and nighttime birds for display and education. And David Jones will put his creative, carving prowess on display to create a jack-o-lantern as the event progresses.

Carving out fun

What: Family Chiropractic and Wellness Presents Night of a Thousand Jacks fundraiser for the nonprofit Advocates For Children. The event features carved jack-o-lanterns (and voting via money for favorites), a costume contest, children’s games and other offerings.

When: 3 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28.

Where: FairOaks Mall, 2380 25th St. in Columbus.

Admission: Free.

For those still wanting to enter jack-o-lanterns, there is a cost of $50 for a patch of 10. Carving nights are scheduled from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25-26 at the mall.

Information: nightofathousandjacks.com.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.