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Jack’s Pumpkin Glow Philadelphia

pumpkin glowThis was our second annual family outing to experience Jack’s Pumpkin Glow Philadelphia.

pumpkin glow5,000 Carved Pumpkins/Fumpkins

This 3rd annual Halloween spectacle in Fairmount Park (near the Mann Center) features 5,000 carved, lighted pumpkins. We were blown away last year by the dazzling pumpkin displays and prefer family-friendly Halloween celebrations. We’ve done our share of creepy haunted houses, ghost tours, and insane asylums.

Thanks to an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, we discovered that most of the pumpkins are actually fumpkins: made of synthetic material, colored and molded to resemble organic pumpkins. We were not overly upset by this revelation (unlike those crying Scam! on Google reviews). When you see the intricate designs they create, and calculate that the display is up for weeks in all-weather, it’s the only viable approach.

Amazing Artistry

The carved pumpkin displays grew progressively more elaborate and mind-blowing as we strolled the trail. The entrance featured a field of jack o lanterns, glowing in shades of purple, green or gold. Each was unique. We admire a snow scene shimmering with white-lit pumpkins. Next was a haunted ship with pumpkin clusters intricately carved into sea creatures. As we rounded the bend, we were surrounded by trees encircled with hundreds of shimmering carved pumpkin globes.

pumpkin glowEven more impressive were the huge dinosaur sculptures. they presented famous works of art by Dali and Frida Kahlo recreated in a 3-D canvas of hundreds of carved, joined pumpkin shapes.
For the special Philadelphia version of The Glow, there were carved pumpkins celebrating local PA icons like Rocky, Ben Franklin and Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton.)

Phillycentric Displays

pumpkin glowThe finale was a tribute to Philly Sports teams, featuring Gritty and the Fly Eagles Fly soundtrack for the Eagles. There was also a fitting resting place for the New England Patriots: a graveyard with tombstones for Tom Brady and Gronk.

Tips and Event Details

The Glow runs evenings until Sunday November 3, 2019. It is located in Fairmount Park near the Mann Center. You have to purchase timed tickets in advance on their website. Search online for 20-30% discount coupon codes. Allow at least an hour to stroll the 1-mile paved trail. You can purchase a limited selection of pricey food and beverages on site. For 2019, they have added a $5 parking fee. Park instead in the NW Shopping Center a few blocks away and walk over.  Parents beware: every child who was leaving had scored a lighted globe or necklace from the gift shop.

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Harry Potter Festival

On October 22, we four die hard fans braved the hordes to attend the annual Harry Potter Festival in Chestnut Hill. When we arrived at 11:30, Germantown Avenue shops were transformed into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley shops. Though transformed is an overstatement. Most were small, quirky specialty shops decorated with a hand-lettered sign or floating candles on display.

Cosplay and Selfie Spots

We enjoyed the massive Harry Potter cosplay and the fandom festival atmosphere. There were shockingly few food options for the soon-to-be 50,000 fans descending on the Chestnut Hill neighborhood. Selfie opportunities were everywhere. We got ours with Hagrid and Professor Slughorn.  There were lovely little touches, like the live Singing Lady portrait, Morris Arboretum’s screaming mandrakes and the free create-your-own clay Hedwig at the PAFA store.

Butter Beer

We too succumbed to buying $4 bottles of butter beer, which tasted like fizzy butterscotch. Our other succumbing was to stand on line for 45 minutes in a cold drizzle to get our Letter of Acceptance from Hogwarts. (The personalized parchment letters did arrive in the mail a few weeks later, sporting the Hogwarts emblem: Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus)

Hogwarts Aerialist

A pleasant surprise was to catch part of the aerialist show on our way out. The performers offered Potter-themed routines, including a frazzled Hermione spiraling up and down silk scarves to retrieve a dropped book. All things considered, we had a good day, compared to the Yelp reviews . Hopefully, Chestnut Hill will take suggestions to heart and return with a better managed event for 2017.