Started as a local celebration in 2005, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson celebrates its 19th spookiversary in grand fashion, with more pumpkins—there have been over 7,000 in years past—and more elaborate attractions than ever.
@hudsonvalleymag Have you been to the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze yet this year? It’s a Halloween staple in the Hudson Valley! // #Blaze #jackolantern #jackolanternblaze #pumpkinblaze #hudsonvalley #Westchester #Halloween // @sabrina.sucato ♬ Halloween ・ cute horror song – PeriTune
Each Blaze features intricate light sculptures and landscapes built entirely from lit, ornately carved pumpkins. Fan favorites like the Headless Horseman, Statue of Liberty, pumpkin planetarium, and the Pumpkin Bridge — née the “Pumpkin Zee Bridge” — are reconstructed yearly from gourds (as well as longer-lasting artificial “Funkins”), along with a rotating assortment of new designs. Additions of a New York cityscape and jellyfish walk-through, as well as upgraded galleries of pumpkin-y masterpieces and dinosaur skeletons have all proved popular.
Even so, Historic Hudson Valley assures that this year’s rendition of the Blaze is bigger, better, and more widespread than ever. In addition to its signature location in Croton-on-Hudson, it also operates second location at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a historic site on Long Island in Nassau County.
“We are fortunate and excited to be able to offer Blaze in two locations,” Historic Hudson Valley VP of Communications and Commerce Rob Schweitzer enthuses. “Given the huge popularity of Blaze in Croton, we’ve long wanted to reach out to another historic site that could benefit from the exposure Blaze offers.”
When it comes to construction, Creative Director Michael Natiello oversees a small team of local artists and Historic Hudson Valley staff to make sure all the pumpkins get carved and constructed in a timely manor. Professional lighting ensures that repeat and new exhibits alike enchant guests throughout the season.
What’s New This Year
There are some big changes for the Blaze in 2023, so those interested would do well to think about scoring tickets well in advance (and yes, they are on sale now). This year’s iteration runs for an impressive 54 nights, starting on September 15 and going through November 19. (For those in the Long Island area, that attraction runs for 30 nights from September 22 to November 5).
Unsurprisingly, there are a number of new installations planned for the Hudson Valley in 2023. Visitors can behold the county’s first-ever pumpkin Ferris wheel along with a circus sideshow and jack-o-lantern tribute to the Day of the Dead. As per usual, the all-immersive experience will still include the all-original soundtrack attendees know and love, as well as theatrical lighting and special effects galore.
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Dates and Tickets
Tickets for both Jack O’Lantern Blazes are available online now, and all proceeds benefit Historic Hudson Valley, a Tarrytown-based nonprofit educational organization that owns and operates a number of National Historic Landmarks in the region. Prospective attendees should note that advance tickets are required for admission, since no tickets will be sold onsite.
The Hudson Valley version runs from September 15 to November 19, with tickets by time slot starting at $32 for adults and $24 for children three to 17. Tickets are free for Historic Hudson Valley members and children ages two and younger. The Long Island experience, meanwhile, goes from September 22 to November 5. Tickets begin at $29 for adults and $19 for children ages three to 17, with free admission available for children ages two and younger. Timed entry and flex tickets are available for both events, and the latter option allows visitors to attend any night they choose during the 2023 season. The Blaze is a rain-or-shine event, so flex passes may be a good option for anyone who doesn’t want to peruse pumpkins while the raindrops fall.
Want to keep the pumpkin party going? Head to the Blaze Shop for Blaze-themed merchandise like t-shirts and hats, along with snacks, drinks, and beer from Captain Lawrence for purchase.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Van Cortlandt Manor, 525 S. Riverside Ave, Croton-on-Hudson