Posted by: Brad Nixon | October 17, 2020

Who Says Wear a Mask? Smilin’ Jack! That’s Who.

I’ve written before about a longtime fixture of the Halloween season that appears every year at — of all places — an oil refinery near the Port of Los Angeles.

That’s Smilin’ Jack, the world’s largest jack o’ lantern, painted each year on a petroleum storage tank.

That gap-toothed smile has been supervising the scary season every year since 1952, almost unchanged. After Halloween, Jack’s painted over until time for his next incarnation.

In this pandemic year, Jack is mindful that things are different, and we all have to hew to new precautions. Here he is, looking out from his accustomed spot, mindful that everyone — especially 68 year-olds — have to be careful. He’s rocking a new look.

The masks that cover Jack’s twin faces — which look roughly north and west — are eighty feet wide.

In a year in which the petroleum industry’s been hit hard by a downturn in economies, with traffic in the port drastically reduced, the company’s gone forward not only with the investment in community good will, but added a timely message.

Refinery employees will again hand out treats to kids who show up in a long line of cars, so long as everyone in the car wears a mask — just like Jack.

This year’s event will be 6 to 9 p.m., October 30.

Jack is visible near the intersection of W Anaheim St and N Gaffey St in Wilmington, south of Los Angeles, on the northern edge of San Pedro. The official address of the sprawling facility is 1660 W Anaheim St., Wilmington California.

To get in line for treats, you’ll enter the refinery from eastbound Anaheim. Expect a line. Kids who showed up for the tradition in its early days are grandparents now, introducing another generation to a happy side of Halloween, during a season when here, at least, there’ll be little or no door-to-door trick or treating.

And wear your mask, over your nose. As Jack does. Beneath it, I assume he’s still smiling.

Caution: There are few places along busy Anaheim and Gaffey to safely pull over for a photo of Jack. Even walking along Anaheim, as I did to capture some of my photos above, is not recommended: no sidewalk. My view of masked Jack is from a hard-to-find local street with no legal parking, requiring a rather long walk to a viewpoint. Be prudent.

A happy and safe Halloween to all.

Photos © Brad Nixon 2020. Smilin’ Jack image is the property of Philips 66 Company and may not be used for commercial purposes without permission.


  1. That is about the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. But that’s certainly one way to get a point across.


    • And I think if you’re a kid lined up to get the treat, with big ol’ Jack looking down, it might be an impression that endures!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Again, a very interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Every town has some remarkable landmark like that, everywhere. We just happen to have about 70 towns squeezed together here, so we sort of get inundated, but Jack pulled off a big one this year, and really stood out.

      Liked by 1 person

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