Author: JW Arrington
‘Twas not too long ago, shorter now than it seems, in a place that perhaps you’ve seen in your dreams.
For the story that you are about to be told, took place in the Los Angeles hills of fools’ gold.
Now, you’ve probably wondered if visiting pumpkin carving art can be fun,
If you haven’t, I’d say it’s time you begun.
Los Angeles is known for its myriad of Halloween attractions, from haunted houses to scare zones. But the Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns event at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area offers a different kind of enchantment. It’s a place where the charm of Halloween comes alive without the typical frights, making it a perfect destination for families and those seeking a more whimsical experience.
The Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns was brought to life by the Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, renowned for producing world-class live events and location-based entertainment experiences nationwide. As the largest Halloween entertainment company globally, they consistently push the boundaries of what’s expected to deliver astonishing experiences every time. Their commitment to excellence and innovation is evident in the mesmerizing displays and immersive atmosphere of the Jack O’Lanterns event, setting it apart as a unique and unforgettable experience.
Upon first arriving, the air was filled with dust being kicked up from the people shuffling to and fro with their families, strollers, friends, and loved ones. Everyone was happy, smiling, and ready for fun. I noticed several attendees dressed in horror-themed outfits, adding to the festive atmosphere. The staff and security helped guide attendees to the entrance. The large lit-up billboard and the parking attendant ensured a smooth entry. A serene walk by a body of water with sleeping ducks set the mood for the occasion.
The setting was nothing short of a Halloween wonderland. Thousands of hand-carved pumpkins, both real and artificial, illuminated the night. The mesmerizing light show added to the magic, elucidating larger-than-life displays. The creativity was boundless, from a nautical seascape, a pirate ship, dinosaurs, and dragons to an 8-foot-tall Big-Foot made of 20+ pumpkins. Among the countless pumpkins, I half-expected to see Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King himself, playing with his ghostly dog Zero among the glowing gourds.
For the Star Wars aficionados, the event had a special treat. Jack o’lanterns glowing as bright as lightsabers were iconic characters from the Star Wars saga came to life. Chewbacca, Yoda, and R2D2 were intricately carved, capturing their essence brilliantly. But the pièce de résistance was the Millennium Falcon, masterfully crafted using 10-15 pumpkins, showcasing the ship’s detailed design. It was an amusing nod to the galaxy far, far away, blending the spirit of Halloween with the magic of Star Wars.
The event evoked a sense of nostalgia, reminding me of past Halloweens and the joy of carving pumpkins. It inspired me to try new carving designs this year, moving beyond the traditional faces I usually opt for. The sheer variety and artistry of these shimmering squashes brought to mind Jack’s enthusiasm when he discovered Christmas Town. Just as Jack was captivated by the new and different, I was drawn into the world of intricate carvings and imaginative displays. It made me yearn for the simple joys of past Halloweens, dressing up, trick-or-treating, and being young and silly.
The blend of real and artificial pumpkins was seamless. The artificial ones, in particular, showcased intricate designs that might be challenging on a real pumpkin. Their durability ensures they remain pristine throughout the event, and the use of LEDs brings out the details beautifully. Beyond the individual pumpkins, the event had much more to offer.
One of the standout attractions was a museum showcasing some of the best pumpkin carvings. Another highlight was a pumpkin patch that lit up in sync with music. The laser lights creating a spider-web effect were enchanting, with spider-web lights creeping on the sides, the floor, and on attendees as they walked through.
While waiting for my friend, I was pleasantly surprised by the merchandise store. Every corner was filled with unique items that caught my eye, making it hard to resist a purchase. There were bags, blankets, shirts, and keychains.
For those looking for interactive experiences, there was a maze of hay bales to navigate. Trying to find your way through the labyrinth felt like a playful challenge set up by Oogie Boogie, minus the villainous intent, of course! And if you got hungry or thirsty, there were three food vendors and bars, one of which even offered boozy hot chocolate.
From a mental health perspective, this event was a therapeutic escape. The freedom to walk at one’s own pace, the whimsical world of radiant rinds, lights, and music, and the opportunity to bond with loved ones provided a much-needed break from the daily grind. I was able to slow down and be mindful of my surroundings. I felt nostalgia, joy, wonder, and awe. For anyone searching for respite and boosted mental well-being, especially during the Halloween season, they will find it at events like these.
For newcomers or those considering attending the Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns, there are a few things to keep in mind. Proper footwear is essential. The outdoor setting with hay and dirt means uneven ground. Even if you enjoy open-toed shoes, I doubt you’ll enjoy dirt caked between your tootsies. A light jacket might also be a good idea. It seemed many attendees wore horror-themed clothes or costumes, so feel free to do the same. It will add to the fun.
This event fills a unique niche in the Los Angeles Halloween scene. Unlike typical haunts, it allows attendees to engage with their company. It’s a lot of admiring art at your own pace, reflecting on the beauty, and then gushing over what you saw with the loved ones you attended with. This is the perfect activity for first dates, families, or a night out with friends. As I left the venue, the glimmer of the jack o’lanterns still fresh in my mind, I realized that the true magic of the event was not just in the artistry of the pumpkins but in the shared experiences and memories created with loved ones.
The Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns is a fun-filled enchanted event suitable for everyone, from a family outing to a date night. It profoundly explores art, creativity, and the Halloween spirit. If this resonates with you, consider attending or exploring similar events next year.
🎃 If the Magic of the Jack O’Lanterns enchanted you, share this review! Did you attend? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!🎃
For more information and to attend future events, visit the official website here.