Looking for Halloween inspiration? If you want to make something unique for your jack-o-lantern this year, get inspiration from thousands of carved pumpkins at THE GLOW: A Jack O’Lantern Experience this month. The huge outdoor display, which made its Northern Virginia debut last in 2017, returns to Lake Fairfax Park for all of October.
Now through October 28, 2018 (on Thursday through Sunday nights), stroll through the park to see more than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkin
THE GLOW illuminates some of the famous and the “everyday” in its creations. Pumpkin look-a-likes include musicians, movie stars, superheroes and princesses, along with Washington icons. Many of our pumpkins are real live pumpkins and others are molded from real pumpkins, but either way, every single one has been hand-carved by Jack’s team. There also are some art pieces added to help set the scene or tone.
Themed areas showcase beloved series such as the world of Harry Potter, an alien ship arrival, historic figures such as recent United States presidents, popular couples such as Prince Harry and Megan Markle, and more. On select dates, you can watch a live pumpkin-carvind demonstration. At the end of the trail, you’ll see a field full of colorful pumpkins, with a light and music show.
Tickets start at j$16 per person (free for age 2 and under), and are available for purchase online; advance tickets are required. This is a fun event sure to get you in the Halloween spirit, and you will see jack-o-lanterns in a whole new light (pun intended).
See more photos below, as well as tips for first-time visitors, based on our experiences from the past two years:
Fairfax Family Fun tips for THE GLOW (also see the official FAQs)
Best time to visit: This event is popular, and because it’s only on weekend evenings, you can expect some crowds. We have found that going late in the evening has worked out well. (This year we arrived 40 minutes before the show closed on a Sunday, and we had no line at all!).
How it works: Don’t be afraid if you see a line upon arrival. The only time you’ll be standing around is while you wait for you time slot to get called (THE GLOW uses timed tickets). Once you make your way into the exhibit, you can view it at your own pace. Going through it at a leisurely pace, to stop and look at all the exhibits, will take you maybe 30-40 minutes, but you can take as long (or go as quickly) as you wish.
What to wear: Bundle up! This event is all outdoors, and temperatures this time of year can drop very quickly at night. Definitely bring coats and winter hats and gloves, even if you don’t think you’ll need them (you can always bring them in a bag just in case).
What to bring: Parents with kids in strollers should bring a heavier-duty one if they can. The path is flat throughout, but you’re still on the ground (not on a paved path). Since the display doesn’t take long to go through, and there are food trucks and a small shop on site, you probably don’t need to pack snacks.
Know your phone: This is an event where you will definitely want to take pictures! Remember, though: you are shooting things that are brightly illuminated against a very dark background (evening in the park). It will help if you now best what the right setting for your camera or phone is for this environment. Avoid using flash, and ook for a “nighttime” setting. Or just play around with your phone! On my Google Pixel phone, what has worked best is to have the flash off and use the “fluorescent” setting.
Don’t miss the free photo! When you first enter THE GLOW, you have a chance to have your photo taken against a backdrop. You’ll get a piece of paper with a number you can then use to claim your photo online. You can buy a printout of it before you leave, but if you choose to just keep the digital copy, you can get it later. These photos turn out very nicely!