Fairmount Park is “lit” this Halloween season with Jack’s Pumpkin Glow, a pathway through eras of carved jack-o-lantern scenes. Before you get to see the passage of time, you have to wait in line. At the cost of $5, you’ll be waiting briefly to park at the Mann Center. Although parking spots are lined, it seemed like children with coloring books are better at staying in the lines. And another downfall of the parking is that the lot is not only dirt, but very bumpy. My sedan is not exactly an off-road vehicle, so I’m thankful I didn’t bottom out at any point. But even if only in the parking lot for an hour, you’re going to leave searching for the nearest car wash.
Once inside the grounds of the event space, you’ll encounter the port-a-potties, which we needed immediately. However, the sinks were not hooked up to any sort of water source, so I went back to my car to use a water bottle to remove the soap that was provided. The food and beverage area was full of tables with some games and had a nice ambiance. You can grab a burger and a beer or a seasonal snack and it won’t break the bank. They’ve also got premium cocktails. Next to this area was a line of tents containing Pumpkin Glow merchandise, a booth where carvers were making more masterpieces, and some pumpkins with projections on them that told jokes.
When it gets to your time slot (or if you splurge for the anytime pass), you wait in line to enter the 1/3 of a mile walkway. Advanced ticket purchase is required, so you’ll choose your time before you arrive on site. It seems that they allow a fairly large group of people in at a time which makes it a slow start as everyone was trying to take pictures of each set of pumpkins. Luckily, you don’t have to follow the line and can bypass the groups that move more casually than you’d like. I’d even consider going around the entire crowd and checking out the first few patches on your way out, as the entire exhibit is a large rectangle that ends where it begins.
To start off, you’ll find hundreds of pumpkins carved with different faces that you would typically see on doorsteps all October long. But just a few feet further and you find out why this event sells so well. It started off with a UFO and plenty of aliens walking about. Next, we ring in the era of the dinosaurs. Pumpkins are combined and then carved to look like a variety of dinosaurs. I’ve seen all of the Jurassic Park movies, but I’m not exactly a dinosaur enthusiast. I do believe I saw a T-Rex, a Triceratops, and a Stegosaurus. There are also pumpkins in a line, each showing a step in the series of Evolution.
After that time period, we move on to see cave men and some of the extinct species associated with them, including a Siberian Tiger, a Woolly Mammoth, and a Dodo Bird. Then, we enter the arctic for a Narwhal, polar bears, and penguin families. There’s any area made up of bug carvings and a large space for an under the sea scene, complete with a large octopus and divers hunting for treasure chests. There were also areas dedicated to a motorcycle gang, a Day of the Dead band, and Harry Potter. The path finished with carvings of our popular Philly sports teams like the Eagles, Phillies, and Gritty.
At the end of the walkway, you can purchase your own pumpkins at a price much cheaper than any pumpkin patch. You can also buy a photo of your group that was offered to be taken at the start of the tour.
Though the parking and toilets are not ideal, I still thought very positively about the experience and certainly recommend it to families looking for some fall fun. All in all, there are more than 5,000 pumpkins along the path. Each one is carved by hand, but some are live pumpkins and some are molds of pumpkins.
Jack’s Pumpkin Glow goes on Rain or Shine as long as it’s not severe; you can keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.
Tickets must be booked in advanced, time slots cannot be changed, and there are no refunds. All ages are encouraged to attend and strollers are welcome.
To purchase your tickets, visit Jack’s Pumpkin Glow online. The event remains open until November 3rd, with entrance times between 6:45pm and 10pm, though many time slots sell out.