The Jack O’Lantern Spectacular


Kaelin Gaydos

The Jack O’Latern Spectacular features uniquely carved pumpkins. Photo by Kaelin Gaydos

Kaelin Gaydos

The various fall festivals in and around Louisville continue on as we get further into the season and as Halloween draws closer. One of these spooky events is the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular, which takes place in Iroquois Park and will run until October 31. Visitors can walk the path from dusk to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays or from dusk until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. 

The Jack O’Lantern Spectacular consists of over 5,000 carved and candle filled pumpkins that illuminate a walking trail, with 100 of these pumpkins having been carved with great precision and detail by experienced artists. Music and sound effects also accompany the bright, colorful glowing lights and elaborate artwork on display. 

Last year’s visitors were only able to drive through the park due to COVID restrictions. This year, however, the normal tradition of walking through the pumpkin lined trail was able to resume.

A new theme is chosen each year for the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular and this year’s theme was the history of television. One part of the walkway has been split up into a variety of TV channels and streaming services and the other part has been separated into television throughout the decades. Netflix, HBO, National Geographic and Animal Planet are a few of the tv channels and streaming services represented via the carved pumpkins. The decades of television run from the 1950s all the way to the 2000s. Set up at the very end of the trail is a memorial for celebrities who have recently passed.

This pumpkin features a scene from a TV show, fitting along nicely with the history of television theme. Photo by Kaelin Gaydos
This pumpkin was carved with intricate detail in order to feature Wonder Woman, the famous superhero from the iconic television show and comic book series. Photo by Kaelin Gaydos
The Spectacular had an entire portion of the trail dedicated to television throughout the decades, marked by signs such as this one. Photo by Kaelin Gaydos

Last year the lines seemed unimaginably long, with about a two hour long wait in the car (not including the drive through the pumpkin trail). This year, I visited the Jack O’Lantern Spectacular on a Thursday at 6:15 p.m. and experienced only a 45 minute wait. Wait time may vary depending on the time slot you sign up for. It’s to be noted that the majority of the time I spent in the line wasn’t due to the amount of people present; rather, it was because I had to wait until it got dark enough, as the show doesn’t start until the sun sets. The Spectacular is a popular event in Louisville, so I recommend attending earlier in the evening and preferably during the week in order to avoid long lines.

The Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is one of the most popular fall events in the Louisville area, with quite an impressive display of art and creativity. It is a fun experience for both adults and kids alike, as well as an affordable option. For more information, visit their website.