I may be a summer baby, but my favorite season of the year has always been autumn. With crisp breezes and breathtaking panoramas of nature in her varying stages of fiery decay, fall most definitely comes as a welcome respite from the oppressive, vision warping heat of its predecessor. And to inaugurate the start of my favorite season, I’m going back to The Great Jack-O-Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in the town of Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
Held every year in the heart of New York’s Hudson Valley, The Blaze couldn’t be more apropos of the Halloween spirit. This is Sleepy Hollow Country – the headless horseman legend originated here; and though other ghost-and-goblin related activities abound, The Blaze remains a perfect option for the family or just a bunch of friends who want to find an excuse to get together and enjoy a bit of Halloween and autumn fun.
With over 4,000 hand carved jack-o-lanterns, visitors walk through a winding path of beautifully spooky displays. The Blaze is held outdoors in the evening for best effect, and the first stop is a haunted house and cemetery. A fog machine pumps a cloudy blanket over the field while illuminated jack-o-lanterns litter the landscape in an eerie orange glow.
The carving talent behind the jack-o-lanterns is nothing short of spectacular. As you progress through the grounds, the designs become more intricate and otherworldly. Walk through a tremendous spiderweb, an undersea aquarium, a land of dinosaurs and tremendous snakes- just to name a few – and all are designed from jack-o-lanterns.
Spooky and fantastical, Blaze is never scary, which makes it great for kids and families. The Blaze runs all October long and part of November. For specific dates, times and other pertinent information on The Jack-O-Lantern Blaze, as well as other Halloween and autumn related events throughout the historic Hudson Valley, go here. If you want a sneak peek of The Blaze, take a look at some pictures of my trip in 2007.
Have a happy and safe autumn and if you go to this event based on my recommendation, please come back and write a comment, tell me what you think. I always love to hear your impressions and experiences.
Historic Hudson Valley