Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree” Comes to Glowing Life at the Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular!


The Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular in Iroquois Park is this Halloween’s best nightly operating attraction for families and Halloween lovers alike!

“It’s beautiful!”

Dr. Rene Belloq, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)

Anyone who has seen “Raiders of the Lost Ark” remembers this exclamation from the films’ primary villain as he stares into the freshly opened Holy relic and at the incorporeal spirits within just before his head promptly explodes. That’s pretty much the same reaction I had on the Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular trail at Iroquois Park because the glowing majesty on display there pretty much blew my mind.

Earlier this week I met with Iroquois Deputy Parks Director, Marty Storch, and Passion for Pumpkins owners and operators, Paul Cadieux and Travis Recknor, to get the scoop on the second season of the Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular and its history.

“Travis’ father went to Vermont one October nearly 30 years ago and saw a hillside full of pumpkins,” says Cadieux. “That’s where this whole idea started.”

“We had our first event in Massachusetts 26 years ago,” he continues. “It started as a fundraiser for a local high school with about 50 pumpkins. That event quickly got so popular that we moved it to the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island with approximately 5,000 pumpkins per year.”

“Here at the Louisville event we are using around 15,000 pumpkins per year,” says Parks Director Marty Storch. “We just got a batch of Atlantic Giant Pumpkins in, and one of them weighs 1,950 pounds!”

Storch says that a portion of the proceeds this season are going towards building several public playgrounds and “spraygrounds” this year. One will be at the California Park on W St. Catherine Street, another in Russell Lee Park on Southern Avenue and a third in Lannon Park in Portland.

“We had 40,000 visitors last year,” says Storch, “and we’re hoping for around 60,000 this year.”

“Our theme this year is ‘A Walk in Time,’ and it’s a journey through history as depicted on sculpted pumpkin art,” says Cadieux, “but we’ve had all kinds of pumpkins carved already this year, including a couple of wedding proposal pumpkins!”

“One of our centerpieces is the Laughing Tree,” says Cadieux. The Laughing Tree is an enormous tree with branches full of grinning pumpkins and the sounds of laughter echoing through the night. As a lifelong fan of the Halloween stories of legendary author, Ray Bradbury, I couldn’t help but imagine his classic 1972 novel, “The Halloween Tree,” coming to vivid life as I basked beneath the glow of Caudieux and Recknor’s giggling masterpiece.

First on the trail, you’ll discover the magical Clock of Ages before you hear the primordial growls of the Prehistoric Swap and you’ll find yourself in a misty land of dinosaur pumpkins before moving on to the Ice Age. Just around the bend, you’ll encounter a medieval castle set depicting feudal times and some of the fire breathing myths dreamed up in that era.

Soon enough you’ll pass into the Old West, complete with an entire Western town full of gunslinging pumpkins. Then you’ll experience the artistic beauty of the Renaissance and the steam powered glory of the Industrial Revolution. Each section is accompanied by the appropriate classical music and sound effects, and this results in an atmosphere similar to that found in some of our best National History Museums.

As the time gets closer to our own moment in history, the trail gets broken down into decades of American History from the Jazz Age of the 1920’s to the Great Depression of the 1930’s and beyond. Popular culture begins showing up in the form of music and movie pumpkins, such as “Rocky” and “Star Wars” pumpkins in the 1970’s and “Ghostbusters” and “Back to the Future” pumpkins in the 1980’s. I thought the “disco pumpkin” was particularly relevant since 90% of the world’s disco balls are made right here in Louisville.

As crazy as it might sound before October 31st, you’ll get to experience some early Christmas cheer in the holiday area, complete with Christmas music and light snowfall on still nights.

Just before the Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular’s finale, there is a tribute to Louisville in glowing orange featuring pumpkins depicting Churchill Downs and local heroes like Muhammad Ali, Colonel Sanders and even Jennifer Lawrence!

Then just before going home, you’ll be rewarded with a tribute to everything Halloween from the Frankenstein Monster to haunted houses, graveyards and ghosts.

It’s hard for me to imagine a better Halloween event for families and kids in the Ville. There are overwhelming sights and sounds to be experienced at the Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular that could very well make for memories that might find themselves etched upon a child’s mind for the rest of his or her life. With that in mind, I can’t recommend this new annual Halloween event any higher to families and lovers of the orange-and-black holiday.

The Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular is open through November 2nd from 7 PM (dusk) until 11 PM Sundays through Thursdays and until Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets for Sunday through Thursday are $12 for Adults, $10 for Seniors (62 and over) and $9 for Children (3-12 years old). Children under 3 are FREE. Tickets for Friday and Saturday are $15 for Adults, $13 for Seniors and $12 for Children.

The Phantom of The Ville

Write a Review


Comments are closed.

  • www.dangerrun.com