Friday, September 7, 2012

Update: The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze 2012

UPDATE:   Tickets are now on sale for this year's exciting Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortland Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, NY!  Running for 22 nights through October and early November, the Blaze features more than 5,000 hand-carved, illuminated pumpkins, including spooky spiders, super-sized dinosaurs, flying pumpkin ghosts and so much more.  This year, be sure to look for the gourd-filled jack-in-the box bouncing up and down!  The spectacle includes atmospheric music, synchronized lighting, and sound effects. 

Tens of thousands of visitors come every year and tickets sell out very rapidly.  Advance tickets are required and can be ordered online.  

Ticket prices this year are $16 for adults, $12 for children ages 3-17 (Saturdays $20 and $16 respectively).  The Blaze is free for children under 3 and for members of the Historic Hudson Valley Organization.

Here's the article I posted in 2010 about our visit:

Last night, we went to the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze with some of our friends.

The Blaze is located in Croton-on-Hudson, NY on the grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor.  (  The Blaze is a land-art installation featuring over 4,000 carved and illuminated pumpkins.  Included in the display this year are pumpkins carved into slithering snakes, a giant spider web, a pirate boat, super-sized dinosaurs, mummies and a pyramid.

This is a very popular event, with over 65,000 visitors last year.  The event typically runs for five weeks, and most evenings sell out well in advance.  However, when I logged onto the site today,  I noticed there are still some tickets available for the very last evening, November 7th.  So if you hurry, you can still get tickets at

Some of the pumpkins are real and some are fake, but all are beautifully hand-carved.  Carving for the art pumpkins begins in June and real pumpkins are carved throughout the run of the Blaze.

Visitors follow a gravel path that meanders through the grounds.  It took us approximately one hour to walk the entire route, allowing stops for photos.  Photography is permitted, but no tripods or monopods are allowed.  Flashlights are not necessary.

This is a great event for all ages, but it is a little spooky (eerie lighting and some Halloween music add to the ambiance).  If you have younger kids, you might want to go a little earlier in the evening when it is not quite so dark.  Strollers are permitted but the pathway is narrow in parts and crowded, so I would recommend leaving the stroller behind if possible.  Be prepared for crowds--keep the kids close at hand.

There is plenty of free parking (included in the ticket price) across the street from the Manor.

Our kids loved it and were amazed at the intricate pumpkin carvings.  Great fun!

Here's a video of the Blaze:

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