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‘The Glow’ Lights Up Philly’s Fairmount Park

This unique attraction is running through Oct. 29.

Need a little inspiration for your pumpkin carving this Halloween season? Check out “The Glow,” a display of more than 5,000 carved pumpkins that’s lighting up a corner of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park through October 29.


It’s a unique attraction — part Halloween fun, part art gallery. Here’s what you need to know if you’re thinking of taking your kids.


What is it, exactly?

“The Glow,” which is in Philadelphia for the first time, is an installation of carved pumpkins — some real, some molded and carved to look like the iconic squash. Visitors walk along a paved path that loops for one-third of a mile and is lit by small lanterns. There’s enough light to see where you’re going, and the path is stroller- and disability-friendly.


Tickets are sold in 30-minute increments, starting at 7 pm, to ensure the path isn’t too crowded. The walk itself takes about 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how much time you want to spend on the pumpkins.


Is it scary?

The jack-o’-lanterns and larger carvings run the gamut from super creepy to downright cute, and probably won’t bother most kids. There’s a slightly spooky graveyard area, draped in mist, and a Day of the Dead-inspired cove; either might alarm a sensitive younger child. But for the most part, the range of kids at the exhibit were expressing wonder, not fear.


There are no zombies, monsters, or any live people wandering around to spook you.

How is it different from my local pumpkin patch?

You can purchase your own pumpkin at the end of the walk, but the focus of “The Glow” is on the artwork created by the carvers, some of whom are local. The wide variety of jack-o’-lanterns is neat, but the stars are the super creative installations.


Photograph by Gwyneth K. Shaw

There’s a big pirate ship, surrounded by pumpkin jellyfish with bubble wrap tentacles. Snowmen made of stacked, spray-painted pumpkins are part of a Christmas-themed area. Dinosaur skeletons, some as tall as 16 feet, loom over a carved graveyard.


Famous Philly landmarks and residents, from the LOVE statue to Benjamin Franklin, Rocky, and Kevin Hart, turn up on other pumpkins, as do the logos of the Phillies, Eagles, and Flyers (apparently these carvers aren’t basketball fans).

What to expect when you get there

“The Glow” is essentially in front of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, and you can enter the parking area from the Avenue of the Republic (use the address 5201 Parkside Ave.). Parking is free, and since the tickets are timed, plan to arrive in the 30-minute window ahead of your time slot.


Photograph by Gwyneth K. Shaw

It’s also wise to get there in time to be toward the front of the line for your time slot, so you can enjoy the walk in a sparser crowd. Several food trucks are stationed near the line, and be prepared for a plea from your kids to buy one of the several light-up toys and knickknacks for sale.


“The Glow” is open Wednesday to Sunday nights through October 29. The first time slot is at 7 pm; the last is 10 pm. Tickets start at $16 for kids over 2, and pricing depends on the date and time you’re looking for.


Philadelphia Family and Main Line Parent are happy to offer our readers a special discount: save 15 percent on tickets with the code FOCUSGLOWS (sorry, it won’t work on “any day, any time” tickets).


For more information, visit “The Glow’s” website. The attraction is also operating in Reston, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee, this year.



Lead photograph courtesy of The Glow. 



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