Day Trip: The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze

There are few events my family looks forward to every year more than this one. Truth be told, my wife and I are very into Halloween. A quick inventory of our attic reveals more bins of Halloween decorations than Christmas ones. So when we discovered The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Sleepy Hollow, NY, we were all in.

Be warned: tickets are limited and this thing sells out quickly. It’s only open weekends in October and early November. I actually set a reminder in my phone to buy the tickets the Sunday of Labor Day Weekend, a full month ahead of time. (I did it this week, for my family and two others we’re going with.)

Why do we love it so much that we start planning for it in August? Because it’s a unique, awesome display that every age will enjoy.

Master pumpkin carvers spend hours building large sculptures out of individual jack o’lanterns. As you walk through, you’ll see dinosaurs, a giant spider web crawling with spiders, a beehive buzzing with bumble bees, and a pirate ship complete with a crew of scalawags all come to life. Those are just some of the many glowing attractions.

When you consider the time and detail that goes into every pumpkin, every creation that each one helps build, it truly is awe-inspiring. We started taking our daughter there when she was a toddler. Now she can walk through herself and point and be amazed right along with us. I must admit, for the first couple of years we thought they were all real pumpkins. They are not. They’re acrylic. That makes sense, considering real ones would rot in a week. Still, doesn’t make it less impressive.

You might want to consider a stroller for younger kids, but they are challenging to navigate since most of the walk is gravel and hilly. And there is a bit of a bottleneck in the beginning, making a stroller even more frustrating to push. If you can carry (or wear) your little one, I’d seriously consider it. Some parts could be scary for little ones, especially in the beginning when you’re approaching a big haunted house complete with organ music and accompanying light show. But we felt comfortable taking our daughter from the time she was a toddler.

There are snacks when you walk in. Your typical hot cocoa, apple cider, brownies and other Halloween treats. Prices are fair. Beware of the customary “exit through the gift shop,” however.

Just an hour drive from Baristaville, I’d definitely recommend this event for the whole family for a rare Halloween night trip.

What: The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze
Where: Sleepy Hollow, NY
When: Fridays-Sundays, October 6-November 11
Cost: Adults $16-$20, Children 3+ $12-$16

(Photos: The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze website)

Justin is a husband, dad, and writer who also blogs about his family’s love for Halloween at Daddy Knows Less.

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