Pumpkin Pop-Ups — Monstrous Hits and a Colossal Miss

Rich Bowen | FlickrChicago is home to many pumpkin patches, ranging from free attractions to expensive excursions.

Chicago has become home to a variety of spooky pop-up events all throughout the city as Halloween approaches. The Phoenix went to three to decide whether the attractions were worth the time and money. 

Maeve Kuhn | The Phoenix Jack’s Pumpkin Path features a corn maze, among other attractions.

Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up (1467 N. Elston Ave.)

Looking for a traditional, suburban-style pumpkin patch in the big city? Consider Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up. 

Just off the North and Clybourn Red Line stop, about a 40 minute ride from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, Jack’s covers more than two acres all dedicated to crafting the superb Halloween experience. With a range of activities — a corn maze, axe throwing, carnival games, Instagram photo sets, fortune tellers, pumpkin patches and local food and drinks — visitors will constantly find something to do. 

With the ground covered in hay and an assortment of pumpkins decorating the area, guests are completely immersed in the “Halloweentown” style attraction. The fall spirit there is arguably the epitome of the spooky season. 

One of the best aspects of Jack’s is the view of the skyline from the pumpkin patch. While it feels like a pumpkin farm in the middle of nowhere, visitors still get the element of the stunning city lights glimmering down.

But be prepared to hurt the bank account. One general admission ticket costs $36 with tax, which includes access to the pumpkin patch, Instagram photo backdrops and the corn maze. The other activities such as, axe throwing, fortune tellers, purchasing a pumpkin, carnival games and food and drinks induce additional charges. 

While the prices aren’t ideal for the average college student, the experience is worth it for a glimpse of autumn suburbia in the bustling city. 

Jack’s Pumpkin Pop-Up is open through Oct. 31. 

Maeve Kuhn | The Phoenix JoJo’s Pumpkin Patch is open through Halloween day.

JoJo’s Pumpkin Patch (23 W. Hubbard St.)

While JoJo’s Shake Bar is normally known for its monstrous shakes, the restaurant changed things up for this year’s spooky season. 

Taking a step through the saloon doors, customers are immediately engulfed by an abundance of Halloween decor. JoJo’s is unique because it isn’t a pumpkin patch but an outdoor restaurant surrounded by Instagrammable spots including haystacks, a pickup truck, fake horses and plenty of plump pumpkins waiting to be held for the camera. 

Standard lunch food graces the menu with sandwiches and salads galore. However, for the Halloween special shake, people can get the “Pumpkin Patch Shake” accompanied by a slice of pumpkin pie, a caramel apple and pretzels all sticking out of the frosted glass. Not a fan of pumpkin? They also have apple cider and a plethora of cocktails. 

JoJo’s Pumpkin Patch is a great time if you’re looking to go to a restaurant. Eating outside will cost visitors an extra $10 to sit next to pumpkins and “Party-City”-esque inflatable monsters, while paying typical Chicago prices for food — more than $15 for a basic sandwich. Yes, taking Instagram pictures with pumpkins and trucks is cute for the fall aesthetic — but it may not be worth the additional charges. 

JoJo’s Pumpkin Patch is open through Oct. 31.

Maeve Kuhn | The Phoenix Navy Pier Pumpkin Lights is open through Nov. 2, free to all.

Navy Pier Pumpkin Lights (23 W. Hubbard St.)

Like Navy Pier itself, the Pier Pumpkin Lights were underwhelming. 

Shown on Navy Pier’s Instagram, what was believed to be a mysterious light installation showcasing pumpkins and a collection of creepy monsters was instead a handful of jack-o’-lanterns spread out along the 3,300 feet long pier. 

The jack-o’-lanterns do display fantastic carvings as Disney characters, skeletons, ghosts and even life-sized sunflowers adorn the pumpkins. 

With the postcard ideal skyline in the background, the pumpkins add to a magical Halloween view of the city. 

However, that’s all it has to offer. It’s a never ending walk down the pier in hopes to find a sensational Halloween exhibit — but guests are instead greeted with more pumpkins. 

The Navy Pier Pumpkin Lights are free, making that the only redeemable quality this “exhibit” has to offer. 

Navy Pier Pumpkin Lights is open through Nov. 2.   

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