Peaches, strawberries, cherries, and melons may dominate the summer months, in terms of the sorts of fruits we crave, and apples are a popular pick in September, but October belongs to one seedy, stringy, spectacularly cookable, carve-able superstar: the pumpkin.
The pumpkin, though, is not an easily grokkable food, however. The globular icons of fall change form at just the right moment, when conditions are right and the eeriest holiday grows near. Spoiler alert: They transform into jack o'lanterns, at least in many households, those grinning, candle-flickery porch-protectors of Halloween.
RISE of the Jack O'Lanterns, an annual event with New York roots, understands that pumpkin lovers long to get the gourdly jump on the whole cool faces-and-more thing but we're hesitant to start our carving quite yet, with Oct. 31 still in the distance.
What to do, where to go and what to see
So they've done it for us, and 5,000 times over, too. The come-stroll-about to-do is all about spying hand-carved pumpkins, pumpkins that rock oodles of different faces and figures. Many of the pumpkins are composed in groups which create forms far larger than an average squash, from tall dinosaurs to giraffes, while others sit alone while giving off that classic spooky glow.
If you've called upon this collection of squash-surreal scenery in the past 'round LA, you went to Descanso Gardens or Santa Anita Park. But the company has two new locations in 2016, with Los Angeles Convention Center serving as the spot for the first part of the run (Oct. 13 through 16) and Fairplex in Pomona doing the end-of-the-month wrap-up (Oct. 27 through 30, so note that it is closed on Halloween).
Will you find inspiration when it comes time to dream up a work of art for the pumpkin currently sitting on the kitchen counter? You just might, given that RISE of the Jack O'Lantern works with a number of skillful artists who have a knack for infusing gourds with gleeful humor and occasional gravitas.
There's no need, though, to set up 5,000 pumpkins on your own front porch, back at home. One or two usually do, and all of those trick-or-treaters want to reach your front door, and doorbell, and too many pumpkins may prove too tricky.
Still, to see so many stem-topped wonders in one place is an unusual sight, but then again, October is an unusual month. The other times of year may rock the berries and apples, but a giant orb of seed-mazing goodness is the tasty titan of mid-fall, and that's just the way whimsy-loving Halloween lovers like it.