What do you visualize when you hear: Headless Horseman? Sleepy Hollow? Jack O’Lanterns?
Do you see a covered bridge made entirely out of pumpkins that light up the night? Or a Statue of Liberty made of Jack O’Lanterns? How about a merry-go-round made entirely of pumpkins?
Stop everything and head to the lower Hudson Valley region and experience the coolest fall festival! With over 7,000 blazing pumpkins, the infamous and amazing #PumpkinBlaze event sells out every year.
The Pumpkin Blaze is Hudson Valley’s very popular Jack O’Lantern festival held at the historic Van Cortlandt Manor. It is a ticketed and timed entry event in which you stroll along a trail lined with decorated pumpkins. It is all outdoors, so weather will be a factor. If I’m being honest, I would do this event in the rain. This event takes pumpkin carving to a whole new level. Like – an insane level.
Heavy Traffic, Well Organized
Be forewarned: there is a lot of traffic around this event, but it is well organized. When you arrive, they have plenty of staff on site to help you park and find your way to the event’s entrance.
We parked our car and headed into the first tent, which was the store for the event. Here you can buy Blaze memorabilia like hats, sweatshirts, tshirts, and a bright orange sling bag. Or festoon your residence with Halloween themed items. I also wish every parent the best of luck escaping this tent without supplying the children with witches hats or light-up wands.
Parent Tip: This is a night event, so let the little kids bring glow sticks and other small light sources. But don’t bring flashlights which can ruin the colors for other guests. You won’t need flashlights to navigate the tour
You might escape the retail tent if you convince your kids of all the food goodies waiting outside.
Pumpkin Beer? Yes, please!
As you leave the retail tent you’ll enter an area selling food and drinks. There are a few tables and haystack seating areas for you and your friends to mingle. We had just finished dinner so we didn’t partake of any of the food or drink. Which I regret. I wanted to sample pumpkin beer SO bad! The food trucks smelled amazing, and the apple cider and popcorn flowed. Next time I’ll arrive with an empty belly and plan to sample everything.
Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere
As we entered the #PumpkinBlaze, we were excited to see the Jack O’Lanterns everywhere. The walkway’s lanterns were carved pumpkins, the grass was littered with carved pumpkins – and I could see the covered bridge on the top of the hill. The atmospheric lighting and soundtrack set the mood and raised our excitement levels.
For me, the Halloween season started at that exact moment!
There is a gravel trail that you follow to view all of the pumpkin art. My photos were taken with my mobile phone, so they aren’t the best quality. But you can get an idea of the amazing beauty – and FUN! – that is the Pumpkin Blaze.
Everyone stops to take photos of their kids or themselves in front of a few of their favorite pumpkin art. The Statue of Liberty was a very popular spot. Everyone was taking photos in front of her. I found the covered Headless Horseman bridge to be my favorite item, next to the dinosaurs.
If you want to take photos, I strongly recommend that you refrain from taking flash photos. Too many folks were flashing bright lights and draining the beautiful colors. I saw several folks carrying videos and GoPro cameras – which I may try on my next trip here. Tripods are NOT a good idea during the public event.
Great night, great memories
The final, grand finale show is quite something! There is a digital light show built around the manor house, and it plays for nearly three minutes. People gather around the great manor to watch the light show – which is truly something to see.
After this show, you make your way around the family “cemetery” and then exit via the infamous Headless Horseman covered bridge.
I hope you can experience this amazing region in the fall. There is so much to do, including Lyndhurst Mansion, Angry Orchard and their free hard Apple Cider sampling, and simply driving around and enjoying the amazing scenery.
Visit in Fall
Although the Hudson Valley is amazing all year round – I hope you have a chance to visit and stay during the celebratory Halloween season! I mean, it is the home of Sleepy Hollow. 😉