The Maritime Aquarium's Jack O Lantern Spectacular Opens Tonight!

(Note: Please welcome FCC's latest guest blogger, Debra Kirouac. Debra works at Save the Children in Westport. Prior to this venture into the non-profit world, she worked in television and the music industry. Deb loves to travel, and has studied/lived in Russia and Scotland. She's also a freelance writer for the Fairfield Weekly. She enjoys old movies and is a regular at the Garden Cinemas in Norwalk. Ms. Kirouac is also very, very short. She can be reached at 203.554.2595 or debra_kirouac@yahoo.com)

After six years in Rhode Island, the Jack-O’-Lantern Spectacular has made its way to the Maritme Aquarium in Norwalk. Commencing today and running until Sunday, November 2nd, it is truly an artistic tour-de-force. Twenty artists spent many hours working on the images that adorn the jack-o’-lanterns – images that include icons of music, television and film, as well as symbols of social change through the years. Even topical figures such as Barack Obama and John McCain are featured. 

Last night I got a special sneak-peak at the display and Meg asked me to share it with you. The first ornately-carved jack-o’-lanterns that greeted me outside the Maritime Aquarium were fascinating. Having just seen The Dark Knight at the IMAX theater there, I was struck by the three faces of Batman’s “Joker” – Cesar Romero, who played the diabolical character in the 1960’s television show; Jack Nicholson, whose 1989 performance in the film version left an indelible mark on the psyche of movie lovers everywhere; and, of course, Heath Ledger, whose recent portrayal of the character has earned posthumous Oscar buzz. To see all three actors represented on one giant squash was very impressive and definitely my favorite. 

Although parts of the event are held inside, one should note that the majority is held outdoors – a lot of it by the water. On a cold night, it is advisable that you bundle up the kids, and perhaps think about bringing a flashlight. The steps can be hard to see, although glow sticks are also sold at the Aquarium and may be of some help. 

The price of admission is $12.00 Sunday through Thursday, and the show times are from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. The cost is slightly higher on Fridays and Saturdays -- $14.00. Show times on these evenings are from 6:00 to 10:30 p.m. You can purchase tickets via the reservation desk at (203) 852-0700, extension 2206. Maritime Aquarium members save $2.00 and groups of ten or more can get member pricing. 

If you are dressed correctly, the jack-o’-lanterns featured along the Norwalk River are probably the best ones to see. Dry ice fills the area with clouds of smoke, which adds to the “scary” Halloween effect. The Metro North train roars by intermittently, and the mixture of sounds and smells, along with the site of more traditional carved pumpkins decorating the trees and lining walkways, makes for a truly memorable experience. This is definitely an event for the entire family.

For more information, visit www.maritimeaquarium.org

By Debra Kirouac of Westport

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