Likely the most innovative Halloween event you will come across, The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson, NY is simply awe-inspiring. With over 7,000 pumpkins hand-carved and illuminated, the sheer artistry behind this spectacular show is what always gets me.
Located in Westchester County in the Hudson Valley, about an hour and ten minutes north of New York City, this elaborate maze of pumpkins is almost other-worldly, like something out of a sci-fi movie.
At the “Blaze”, as it is most commonly called, you will find circus animals such as elephants and tigers, clowns, snakes, dragons, dinosaurs, spider webs, monkeys, a giant grandfather clock, skeletons and a graveyard, and an overheard passageway, among many other things, all made out of carved pumpkins. The work is so detailed and intricate it will have your mind spinning at how these artists come to pull this off each year. And to see all the pumpkins illuminated makes it all the more magical. It’s an amazing display, and presented with additional lighting and music effects to enhance the experience.
The event, put on by Historic Hudson Valley, is appropriately just minutes from historic Sleepy Hollow where the headless horseman famously rode. And HHV’s description of the spectacle is harldy hyperbole.
Wander along our main street Pumpkin Promenade and stroll across the new Pumpkin Zee Bridge. Gaze in wonder at swimming aquatic creatures and gasp at the sight of a giant Sea Serpent surfacing next to the Croton River. Get mesmerized by a color-changing star show in the plus-sized Pumpkin Planetarium.
Feel the earth shake as you approach Jurassic Park, where a brand-new herd of pint-sized dinosaurs mingles with an enormous T-Rex, brontosaurus, triceratops, and flying pterodactyl. Squeal with excitement as the Circus Train rolls into town, with a cast of colorful clowns and awesome animals. Don’t miss Sleepy Hollow Country’s most iconic inhabitant, the Headless Horseman…yes, all made entirely of jack o’lanterns!
We’ve taken our girls for the past couple of years, and I’m not sure who likes it more – them, or us. I will say, it can be spooky for the little ones, but we’ve seen all ages there. One of my daughters gets scared easily, the other not so much, so it’s hard to say at which age is best to start taking the kids. Some of the earlier shows, when it’s not quite completely dark yet, may be best for the younger set. But be forewarned, tickets got quickly. Sometimes we haven’t been able to get tickets until November post-Halloween, but honestly it’s still just as great. This event sells out fast! And for a reason!
If you want to dine out either before or after, which I highly recommend, we like going to Umami Café (325 South Riverside Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson), an eclectic restaurant with dishes from around the world, and a good kids menu. With a quirky diner style atmosphere, it’s a fun spot to take the family.
The Blaze is like no other event you’ve been to – simply incredible – and a must see!
The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, 525 S Riverside, Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520
This article was originally published on fifi + hop (Travel and Adventure, with Kids). Republished by permission.