5,000 Pumpkins Come Alive at The Great Jack O'Lantern BLAZE


Since we’ve been expanding our coverage of New York City and the greater New York area this year, including Long Island and Westchester and Duchess Counties, I came across an incredible family event in Croton-on-Hudson called The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. The theme is Halloween and all things Autumn.

Continuing for a record of 28 selected evenings through mid November, The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze is Hudson Valley’s biggest all-ages Halloween extravaganza. A team of artists comes together to carve thousands of jacks, many fused together in elaborate constructions such as life-size dinosaurs and eight-foot-tall working jack-o’lanterns-in-the-box, all lit up throughout the wooded walkways, orchards, and gardens of historic Van Cortlandt Manor.

Carving of the art pumpkins begins in June and carving of the regular pumpkins begins in late September and continues throughout the run of the event, which ends on November 16. Some are harder to carve than others, such as the optical illusions and celtic knots, which can take an expert carver a full day to complete.

We saw a number of complicated carvings that ranged from dinosaurs, spider web, mushrooms, witches, dinosaurs, lions, monkeys, a giraffe, a big snake, gorilla, a birthday cake, graveyard of ghosts rising from the dead, monsters, venus flytraps, Chinese dragons, a massive crocodile, spiders and the large web that looked like a web but also a ferris wheel, skeletons, scarecrows, clowns, tumbling acrobats, sunflowers, the Headless Horseman throwing a pumpkin toward a covered bridge, “pumpkin infinity”, the doomsday clock, cats and bees.

The event drew more than 100,000 visitors last year and features more than 5,000 illuminated, individually hand-carved jack o’ lanterns. Favorite installations such as the Undersea Aquarium and Jurassic Park are joined this year by new creations including a life-size pumpkin version of Sleepy Hollow Country’s most iconic inhabitant, the Headless Horseman, and an enormous cake in celebration of this classic event’s tenth anniversary year.

To give you an idea of the scale of the event, it is led by Creative Director Michael Natiello, together with artists, staff and more than 1,000 volunteers. Café Blazé, by Geordane’s of Irvington, was on site offering culinary treats to attendees, such as soup, veggie chili, muffins, pumpkin cookies, and cider. They even have their own music dedicated to BLAZE, created by professional musician, radio personality, and Halloween fanatic Richard Christy.


The Great Jack O’Lantern BLAZE

Van Cortlandt Manor

525 South Riverside Avenue

Croton-on-Hudson, NY

It is just off Route 9 in Croton-on-Hudson




Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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