A couple weeks back, Jen informed me that she had read about something called Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns taking placing in a town about an hour and a half from our house, where over 5,000 carved and lit up jack o'lanterns were on display for ticket buyers to see. Without needing any further information about the event than that, our tickets for opening weekend were secured, with a half off discount code I found on the Facebook page nabbing us two tickets for $16. Huzzah!
Opening weekend was this past weekend, and as far as I'm aware, this was the very first year of the event's existence. We went on Saturday night, at the 9:30pm showing, and I'm here tonight to report back with my experience, and more importantly, share some pictures of some pretty kickass pumpkins. So if that sounds cool with you, then read on. Or, just scroll down to see the pretty pictures. Whichever you prefer!
We really had no idea what to expect from this event, or how the whole thing was gonna be laid out. Basically how it worked was that you walked down a dark pathway, surrounded by massive trees, and then arrived at the first of three pumpkin displays, which saw thousands of jack o'lanterns lined up museum style for viewing. The backgrounds were filled with your standard jack o'lanterns, which were likely carved by kids, with more professional looking carve and paint jobs in the foreground. The ones in the foreground were divided up by theme in each section, with themes of everything from sports teams (ick) to fantasy flicks.
You could tell that the kinks hadn't been quite worked out by the people running the event just yet, because this first stage of the journey was jam packed with people, with no real organization. You basically had to push your way through hordes of humanity to get to a position where you could clearly see and take pictures of the pumpkins, which was really frustrating to a guy like me, who kinda sorta doesn't exactly like people. Well, at least most people. Everything would be better without people, a belief that is never more clear to me than it is during events like this one.
It didn't take long before I realized the highly disappointing truth of this event, which became very clear to me once I was able to actually get to the front of the crowd, and get pretty close to the "pumpkins". They were all kept behind a rope barricade, so that you couldn't get close enough to touch them, but it was clear to the naked eye that these so called pumpkins were not actually pumpkins at all. The insides were completely clean and smooth, and you could even see the seams running up the sides. I guess I'll just come out and say it. The goddamn pumpkins were goddamn foam.
Now I realize that it still took a lot of effort to put an event like this on, and that each foam pumpkin still had to be carved by someone, but I couldn't help but feel like much of the magic was gone when I made this realization. I was of course under the impression that all the pumpkins were going to be real, and though I had no idea how they'd be able to pull such a feat off, and keep them all fresh and in good shape all month long, I figured they employed a bit of the ole Halloween magic to make it happen. But nope. The pumpkins were fake. All of them.
Well, I shouldn't say all of them. In a bit of an insulting and deceptive move, the walkway area between the first and second pumpkin display areas was lined with carved jack o'lanterns that you could touch, which were actually made with real pumpkins. The difference between the inside of a foam pumpkin and the inside of a real pumpkin is instantly noticeable to anyone who has ever carved a pumpkin, and my intelligence definitely felt a bit insulted when I saw that the pumpkins you could actually touch were real, while all the others were not. Of course, I overhead many people say things like this to their loved ones, after touching the real pumpkins that lined the path; "Oh wow, I guess they all were real!"
Bastards. You aint tricking me.
↓ ghost testicles? ↓
Anyway. The second area was a whole lot cooler, and was more like what I had expected the whole event to be like. An organized line was walked down a narrow pathway, lined with trees, flanked by jack o'lanterns on both sides. I wondered if these pumpkins were real or fake, since you could touch them if you leaned over the rope a wee bit, and that's when my hunch was 100% confirmed, by the feel of fake pumpkin that overcame my sense of touch. It was kinda sad because up until that point, Jen had been desperately trying to convince herself that I was wrong, like a little kid who so badly wanted to believe that Santa was real. Once she was actually able to touch one, she pretty much stopped taking pictures, and kinda lost interest in the whole thing. Later on, she joked that I should've 'protected her' and kept the truth from her. I felt like the asshole older brother who tells his younger brother that he saw the tooth fairy putting a dollar bill under his pillow, and that the tooth fairy looked a whole lot like mommy. Sorry Jen!
The third and final stage of the Rise saw thousands more pumpkins on display, again in a more appealing fashion than that first stage. We kinda rushed through this area, since we had been looking at fake pumpkins for over an hour at this point. It admittedly gets a little old, especially when you know you've been scammed!
All joking aside though, the event was still a lot of fun, and I'm glad we decided to do it. I hope that next year they maybe try and incorporate some more real pumpkins into the mix, and figure out a better way to keep the whole thing moving along more smoothly, and maybe make it a bit more exciting all around. Free hot cider or something would've been cool, especially since it was freezing cold out there, and maybe a haunted attraction mixed in with the pumpkin fest would've made the money a bit more worth it. But hey, it was something to do, and we both had a fun time doing it. The Westbury Gardens, where the event took place, are absolutely beautiful, so that didn't hurt. Wouldn't mind going back there during the day time, at some point.
I leave you with a whole bunch of pictures that I took, of the coolest (fake) pumpkins that I saw at the Rise Of The Jack O'Lanterns. My camera's battery was nearly dead at the start of the event (good planning on my part), so it really was a Halloween miracle that I was actually able to take this many. Enjoy!
And with that ...
I'VE HAD IT WITH POSTING MOTHERFUCKING PICTURES OF THESE FAKE MOTHERFUCKING PUMPKINS!!
And hey, at least not many pumpkins were harmed in the creation of this event, right?!