By: Jonathan J. Williams
Hidden snuggly in the Santa Monica Mountains is the NIGHTS OF THE JACK: AN IMMERSIVE HALLOWEEN EXPERIENCE. Being from the Midwest, it’s always been difficult to find those experiences that give you that feeling of fall out here in California. I’ve never, personally, gotten used to the feeling that seasons don’t seem to exist in Southern California. While I love and do enjoy all types of scary and horror-related events in SoCal during this time of year, it is always nice to find an event that just gives you the warm apple cider nostalgia of fall that you are looking for, and NIGHTS OF THE JACK does precisely that.
Upon entering the main square, you’ll find plenty of delicious food trucks, photo ops, and kiosks the whole family can enjoy. You can watch a skilled pumpkin carver create eye-popping creations from large pumpkins, visit the local fortune teller for insight into your future, or grab a fall-themed cocktail at the “Spookeasy."
The food trucks are plentiful, whether you are looking for dinner, dessert, or just a cup of coffee to keep you warm during your walk along the trail. There really is something for everyone to enjoy before you even set foot on Jack’s Trail for the main event.
Upon hitting the mile-long trail, you will see pumpkin art of all shapes and sizes. You’ll see sea creature and dinosaur carvings and creations, Disney Princesses, a pumpkin recreation of Bikini Bottom, and, of course, your favorite movie monsters - to name just a few of the many pumpkins you will see on your stroll through the trail. The lights provide a fun and relaxing walk through a wide variety of exhibits that only become more elaborate and awe-inspiring as you head deeper down the trail.
One thing I will note is that this is a long trail with very few places to sit and rest your legs, should you have any health issues or difficulties. While there is a halfway point equipped with tables, restrooms, a souvenir shop, and a second “Spookeasy,” it is the only rest point on the trail. So, if you or your loved ones have difficulty walking, I would recommend a wheelchair or other form of walking assistance for the trail. Not to mention taking a bathroom stop before viewing the Jack O’ Lanterns.
While it may be too simplistic for some, THE NIGHTS OF THE JACK provides a much-appreciated fun taste of fall, without the scare intensity of bigger attractions, such as Halloween Horror Nights. It is great for those looking for a fun and relaxed taste of fall with family and friends, or if you’re someone like me, it provides a wonderful dose of fall nostalgia. With many of the events in Southern California trying to outdo each other to reach a Universal Horror Nights level of status, it is nice to simply go and enjoy a taste off fall in an otherwise “season-free” city.