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Croton’s Annual Great Pumpkin Blaze Is Back and Better Than Ever

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Historic Hudson Valley unveils spooktacular plans for a new location and chilling exhibits while creating a thrilling destination that’s safe for all.

By Dave Zucker and Sabrina Sucato

Started as a local celebration in 2005, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson celebrates its 15th spookiversary in grand fashion, with more pumpkins—over 7,000 this year!—and more elaborate attractions than ever.

This year, the Blaze’s return in the Hudson Valley is a particularly significant one. Due to safety concerns relating to the COVID-19 crisis, Historic Hudson Valley, the host of the Blaze, had to cancel its other autumnal programming, including Horseman’s Hollow at Philipsburg Manor and Irving’s “Legend” at the Old Dutch Church, for 2020.

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 debuts a new 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 this year 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.”

Since the Blaze is a low-risk, outdoor activity, it’s ideal for experiencing the chills and thrills of the Halloween season in the Hudson Valley. To keep the attraction safe for all, Historic Hudson Valley implements a number of safety procedures at both sites, including:

  • Reduced capacity by two-thirds
  • Required use of face masks
  • A COVID Courtesy Code to which visitors must agree
  • No food or beverage options
  • Plexiglass shields for ticket scanners
  • Rotating bathroom service to ensure cleanliness
  • No onsite ticket sales

 

If the Blaze preview is any indication, this year’s event is sure to be unforgettable. The hand-carved vignettes in Croton range in scope from Halloween classics like witches around a bubbling cauldron and a highly detailed headless horseman to a Hansel and Gretel display and a cute scene of a cat being rescued by firefighters. In total, more than two dozen stops filled with larger-than-life scenes, synchronized lighting, and an original soundscape await Hudson Valley visitors.

Tickets for both Jack O’Lantern Blazes are available online now, and all proceeds benefit Historic Hudson Valley’s educational programs. The Hudson Valley version runs from September 18 to November 21, with tickets by time slot starting at $24. The Long Island experience, meanwhile, extends from October 2 to November 1. Tickets also begin at $24 and adhere to designated time slots for visitors.

 

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