This post is from 2015. For current info see our 2016 post.
There are many levels of pumpkin carving. There's picking up a pumpkin at the grocery store and jabbing it with a knife until is makes a crooked smile. There's downloading a stencil and spending an afternoon with a $5 carving kit turning your pumpkin patch purchase into Jack Skellington. And then there's taking 5,000 fresh pumpkins per week and carving them into multi-gourd masterpieces never before conceived out of fruit. That last thing is what you'd call Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns.
The Rise, as those in the know call it, has been a popular Halloween event near NYC, on Long Island, for years; SoCal got its first peek at the hard-to-describe pumpkin phenomenon last year, when it moved into Descanso Gardens. This year The Rise is at two LA locations (adding the Santa Anita Race Track), as well as the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. And it is pretty darn different from any other Halloween event I've seen.