Disappointed his family missed out on seeing the Morton Arboretum’s annual Illuminations holiday light display, 10-year-old Jack Carroll took it upon himself to map out all the Christmas decorations in Oak Park.
With help from dad Chris and twin brother Xander, the explorers spent hours driving around the village almost every night for two weeks to document festive neighborhoods. On their first outing, it took them about an hour to do half a mile.
“We had this really bad picture map of Oak Park,” said Carroll. “I was sitting in the backseat of the car and my dad and brother were yelling out what side of the street to put dots on the map.”
To make things more efficient, they streamlined their operations by calculating the percentage of decorated homes per block instead of going house by house. Carroll also recruited some friends to conquer other Oak Park neighborhoods.
Carroll’s uncle then put the data into a color-coded map.
“We didn’t want to go around and only find the best houses,” said Chris Carroll. “Just by putting up some lights, we wanted to applaud that effort.”
Some blocks did outdo others with festive décor. Carroll’s particular favorite is 200 South Clinton.
“At almost every house, besides a few apartments, there was a pink flamingo somewhere in their holiday lights,” said Carroll, who plans to make another holiday map next year.
When the cartography expedition and the map was completed, Carroll printed copies of it to share with his friends. With his dad’s help, Carroll wrote an email to Wednesday Journal in the hopes that readers would use the map to seek out the holiday lights themselves.