By Jack O. Lantern
Jack-o’-Lantern Park is a great place to visit before Halloween, especially if you’re a pumpkin.
Pumpkins who’ve spent any time under the Pumpkin Patch at the Pumpkin Caves Spirit Club know it’s a great place to lay low, enjoy various dishes of dirt and soak up all the water their roots can savor.
If you’re a scarecrow, however, the best place in Jack-o’-Lantern Park to go to get some rest before the big night of Oct. 31st is the Hay Fields right off Scarecrow Square.
“Everyone thinks being a scarecrow is easy,” said longtime Jack-o’-Lantern Park resident Claire Crowe. “But if you’re a working scarecrow, you know that standing on a stick in the middle of a field for months on end, scaring crows all day and all night, is exhausting. The best place to go to finally lay down and get that stiffness out of your back is the Hay Fields.”
According to the brochure, the Hay Fields is a wide-open hay meadow filled with temper-pedic straw and a full-service hay salon. Signature experiences include the three-hour (Bloody) Red Carpet-Ready treatment that offers a pumpkin juice massage, an ageless beauty haycial and a mani/pedi.
“This place was first recommended to me by a friend about 15 years ago after my first season scaring crows,” Crowe said. “I went in for shoulder and upper back tightness and found a great bargain through Groupon. I decided to get a neuromuscular massage and I had the greatest experience, thanks to Zivah. While other reviewers have noted that the Hay Fields feel more like worker fields, I couldn’t disagree more. The quality of my massage and the ambience of these particular fields were amazing in my opinion. Before every Halloween season, I look forward to my appointments with Zivah, and I always look forward to my follow-ups after Halloween night. Zivah and the Hay Fields are the best.”
But if you’re not a pumpkin or a scarecrow, and you’re looking for a place to kick back and relax, check out Pumpkintime at the top of Pumpkin Peak. Sponsored by Jack-o’-Lantern Press and located in the courtyard of the JLP Pumpkinheadquarters building, Pumpkintime is an outdoor amphitheater that hosts live ghost storytelling. It’s a great experience where you can be a part of the visceral dialogue between teller and audience.
“Our mission is to promote the art and craft of ghosts telling ghost stories through jack-o’-lantern vessels, and to celebrate and honor the commonality and diversity of the universal ghost experience,” said Pumpkintime founder I.M. Skairey. “We also work with young spirits and pumpkinhead-ucators to build community through ghost story workshops, performances and innovative resources.”
Those who attend Pumpkintime are always moved.
“It takes guts to go up in front of a live audience -- and even a dead audience -- and tell your personal ghost stories,” said Paul-o’-Lantern, who has been to more than a dozen Pumpkintime shows in the last year. “Those storytellers that have guts lay those bloody, gruesome innards all over the stage to bring their stories to gory life. And it’s awesome. The ghosts that aren’t able to expose their guts are still cool, though.”
Every Oct. 30th, the Great Pumpkin -- a regular storyteller at Pumpkintime -- takes the stage, following the Grover’s Mill Martians, to retell the tale of the time he stood up a group of trick-or-treaters who waited for him in the most sincere pumpkin patch around.
“The word ‘legendary’ is sometimes misused at Pumpkintime,” said the Carver from Carver’s Corner. “I’ve seen a lot of storytellers grace that stage in my time, and they’re all really top-notch, but the Great Pumpkin’s story about standing up those kids is, in every sense of the word, legendary.”
From the guy who curses the pumpkins that he carves and shares with guests, that’s saying a lot.
Still, there’s more to see in Jack-o’-Lantern Park. There’s the Deadly Petting Zoo (please feed the “animals”), there’s Pumpkin Launcher Landing (this is best after Halloween when pumpkins are gonna die anyway -- launching each other to their smashing deaths is a quick way to get it over with), there’s Lookout Point on Pumpkin Peak (for those who have to romance their victims instead of chase them down, Lookout Point provides romantic locales with excellent views of Transyl-vein-ia) and there’s Lantern Lane where you can experience the Festival of the Lantern Lights (jack-o’-lanterns from all over the region come to the fest wearing their best carved faces and illuminated by the brightest candles in their heads for an extraordinary night of jack-o’-lantern light and magic).
Get to where you need to go in Jack-o’-Lantern Park by way of the Tractor Ride Transit, the district’s premier transportation system. Those who use it more than three times in a week will earn ride tickets on the Transyl-vein-ia Express. And if you’re traveling to other Transyl-vein-ia districts, the Tractor Ride Transit makes stops at the Transyl-vein-ia Express Train Station.
This is one in a series of TRAVEL STORIES from the 13 districts of Transyl-vein-ia. These stories run weekdays between August and September. Jack-o’-Lantern Press’s regular news and entertainment coverage will continue in October.