For the past few years I’ve heard about this amazing jack o lantern trail that you walk through the woods to see. Louisville isn’t that far from me so this is the perfect Halloween event near Indianapolis. I’m guessing that much of the inspiration for the Newfields Harvest Nights came from the Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular pumpkin event. Both are truly beautiful but they are very similar in some ways and unique in others. With our favorite Christmas lights drive thru light show coming up, we had to check out the Halloween one!
Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular Pumpkin Event
During typical years, this popular Halloween event takes place along the walking trails at Iroquois Park in Louisville (just about a two hour road trip from Indianapolis). For 2020, the annual fundraiser for the Louisville Parks Foundation is a drive-thru Halloween event. Guests will remain in their vehicles and drive through the paved roads of Iroquois Park to view the 6,000 carved pumpkins.
Jack O’Lantern Spectacular is one of a series of three shows that take place in other areas of the country. The pumpkins you see are real with the exception of the pumpkins mounted in the trees. Every few days, pumpkins have to be replaced due to decay or other natural causes. Most of the pumpkins are grown locally.
You’ll see typical classic jack o lantern carvings but then there are dozens and dozens of amazing works of art that reflect pop culture, animals and other cool things.
Promo Code for Jack O’Lantern Spectacular
While we can’t find any active promo codes, there are special nights to save money, but be prepared for longer wait times. You can stop by participating T-Mobile stores to save $2 off of admission on Monday nights (October 5,12,19,26). Republic Bank members can save $5 off tickets on Monday, October 13th using a special promo code from Republic Bank.
Address for Jack O’Lantern Spectacular in Louisville
The exact address to enter the park is 4800 New Cut Road, Louisville. The official entrance is at the intersection of New Cut and Southern Parkway. Both ticket holders and those purchasing tickets will enter here.
Do I Need Tickets for Jack O’Lantern Spectacular?
Guests are advised to purchase their tickets in advance on the website, as only a limited number of tickets will be sold for each night.
Jack O’Lantern Spectacular Tickets
Tickets for 2020 are sold by the carload. Cars/Trucks/SUVs/Minivans are $35 per vehicle. Passenger Vans/Limos/RVs pay $50 each.
How long is the wait for Jack O’Lantern Spectacular?
The website indicates that you could wait for up to 2 hours. Weekends and promo nights are the heaviest with traffic and long wait times. Our family waited for about 60 minutes on Monday, October 5th. We went on a weekday, early in the month hoping to have a short wait. Bring along games, water and light up toys to make the wait feel shorter.
Bathrooms at Jack O’Lantern Spectacular
There are restrooms/port-a-potties available three times during your wait. I recommended that you go to the bathroom before you enter the park.
What to Expect at the Louisville Pumpkin Event
With one exception, the majority of the BIG decorations and displays are on the passenger side of the vehicle. Once you are in the park, you are allowed to sit in the back of trucks and move about your vehicle. Do what is best for your own family situation. Typically, you’ll wait in a long line of cars and come upon a few people selling glow in the dark toys (we usually bring our own if this is the case, but we didn’t know to expect this.)
Eventually someone will scan your ticket on your phone or printed paper and then you’ll enter the park. As you traverse the roads in the park there are just heaps of lighted Jack O’Lanterns displayed on the side of the road in the woods. There are fantastic scenes and wonderful promos to contribute to the themes of each section.
In addition to movies and animals and other popular culture references carved in to pumpkins, there is a section dedicated to those who lost their lives this year. You’ll see depictions of Louisville’s own Breonna Taylor and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
I’d describe the Jack O’Lantern show as more whimsical than frightening and more artsy than scary. My children, ages 4, 6, 8 and 10 loved the show and were not scared…except for maybe the giant clown mouth.
You’ll most likely be bumper to bumper almost the whole time and while you must turn your headlights off, there’s nothing to be done about those pesky brake lights in front of you. Be sure you know how to turn off your headlights!
Is Louisville Jack O’Lantern Spectacular Worth It?
I think the sheer popularity of it makes it a sure sign that it’s worth it for local residents to attend. The question gets tricky when you ask someone from Indianapolis if it’s worth it to drive two hours, sit in the car waiting for an hour or two, drive 30-60 minutes through a show and then drive home two hours.
We loved it. My six year old fell asleep almost immediately but everyone else was very excited to see everything. The drive home was long and felt never ending but I’m so glad that we went. I’d love to return next year if we’re outside of this pandemic and walk along the trails to see these gorgeous artistically carved pumpkins.
If you have the time, I’d recommend staying overnight in Louisville and checking out other local attractions or fun things to do. My friend Stephanie has a website to help you out. One of our favorite places to go is the Louisville Mega Caverns.
The drive thru Wilstem Wild Animal Park also has an awesome fall drive thru experience.