(depending on time of ticket purchase and discounts)
Rise of the Jack O’ Lanterns
Intricately carved pumpkins displayed as art. Sounds cool…but actual execution is an over-priced disappointment.
Our Review of the Rise of the Jack-o-Lanterns
I’ve had my eye on Rise of Jack-O-Lanterns since its début at Descanso Gardens a few years ago. Overall, I just couldn’t figure a time slot where it would be dark enough to enjoy, but not push too late past bedtime for the kids. This year, Rise solved that problem by having the display INDOORS at the LA Convention Center. This meant I could by 10 am tickets on Saturday and still see pumpkins glowing in the dark. The trade-off, I imagine, is you lose the nature-walk, pumpkin-patch feeling of having it outdoors. Basically, you strip away a lot of the charm.
The event itself was a series of fail. First of all, Downtown LA is awful to navigation and Rise had no signage. You have no idea what building you’re supposed to be aiming for, where the parking is, which one-way streets to take…it’s pretty intense. But traffic was light early Saturday morning, so we were able to muddle through and sort of figure out where we needed to be.
Rise is a timed entry events. While waiting, we were able to watch real pumpkin carvers in action. So cool! They showed the kids the tools and the techniques, and had their own creations on display. This was the only highlight for me.
It was time for the event to start, so we got in queue and entered the darkened arena to view the pumpkins. It started with a Day of the Dead display. Amazingly carved pumpkins arranged into Sugar Skulls. Unfortunately, past that point things went downhill fast. I was hoping to see art and creativity on an unexpected medium…instead I saw thousands of Disney pictures on pumpkins. They have a Star Wars section, NBA section, cars, animals…but nothing artistic or clever.
The boys got bored fast, but we dragged them along against their will because it was $20 a person! We’d paid money and driven to downtown…they were going to see every last Frozen pumpkin, Winnie the Pooh pumpkin, and Beauty and the Beast pumpkin. Most of the individual pumpkins in the center of the arena were poorly lit so you could barely see the design, but again, it’s just a bunch of Disney characters so there wasn’t much design to miss.
In the end, $20 a tickets, a long drive, bored kids, and uninterested parents equals a huge disappointment. I think we would have had more fun staying home and looking up creative pumpkin carving on Pintrest.
Knowing WHERE to go is tricky. I’ve marked Convention Center parking on the map below.