The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley is a must-do Halloween event in the tri-state area. Now in its 18th year, The Blaze Hudson Valley is a walk-through Halloween experience scheduled to run 54 nights between September and November to meet attendance demands. Nevertheless, the event’s popularity necessitates some planning. Timed-entry tickets must be purchased online in advance. A flex ticket option, allowing visitors to purchase a pass for access to any session throughout the season, has already sold out.
For those traveling from NYC, The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze is worth the splurge and is accessible via public transportation. The event even made our list of 100 things to do with kids in New York State before they grow up. Prefer to head east? Old Bethpage Village Restoration hosts The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze: Long Island.
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Read on for all you need to know about the event of the Halloween season—an overview, tips for visiting, and a rundown of what’s new for 2022 at The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley. Be sure to bookmark our Fall Fun and Halloween guides for more seasonal fun.
The first thing to understand about the Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley is it’s a jaw-dropping original. Every fall, the grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor overflow with more than 7,000 incredibly detailed pumpkin sculptures, with everything from traditional grinning jack-o’-lanterns to inventive sculptures of dinosaurs, animals, flowers, scarecrows, totem polls, snakes, giant spider webs, creatures from Greek and Roman mythology, and much more.
The Blaze Hudson Valley is seasonally spooky; make sure very young visitors are comfortable with that. Photo by Susan Miele
Beyond pumpkin carving, an added dazzle comes from special effects, including a revolving pumpkin carousel and mechanical windmill, as well as others that employ lighting techniques to suggest motion. Other highlights are a giant Statue of Liberty, the Pumpkin Zee Bridge, signs of the zodiac, and a medieval castle guarded by jack-o’-lantern owls.
Each year features new exhibits, and this year’s additions to The Blaze Hudson Valley include an animated “Jack” Smith Shop and glowing bees.
Jack-o’-lanterns stretch as far as the eye can see. Photo by Susan Miele
While the event is more entertaining than scary, The Blaze can be overwhelming for some, and creepy music blares from speakers around you. Kids with sensory issues might not enjoy the excitement.
As in years past, tickets are available on a timed-entry schedule. If plans change, you can change your date up to 48 hours in advance for a $2.50 per-ticket exchange fee. Note, however, it might be difficult to find a desirable alternative with availability.
Capacity caps remain in effect to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and ticket-buyers must abide by the Historic Hudson Valley’s COVID Courtesy Code.
Depending on your pace, it takes 30-45 minutes to traverse The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley, in addition to the transitional time of arriving and queuing up. According to the FAQs on The Blaze Hudson Valley website, you’ll see about 7,000 jack-o’-lanterns during your visit. Not all of them are made out of organic pumpkins, though. Some of the most intricate creations were crafted from “art pumpkins” to allow their preservation. It takes more than 1,000 volunteers to help bring The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley to life, and their work shows.
The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley takes place at Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson on select evenings from Friday, September 16 through Sunday, November 20, 2022. The Great Jack-o-Lantern Blaze Long Island runs Wednesdays through Sundays from Friday, September 30, through Sunday, November 6. Advance tickets are required for both installations and can be booked online. Book more than 24 hours in advance to save $2 per ticket.
The Blaze Hudson Valley is accessible via public transportation. Take a one-hour train ride from Manhattan on Metro-North to the Croton-Harmon station. The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze is a 10-minute walk or five-minute cab ride away.
Tip: Buy tickets for dusk, so you can watch the jack-o’-lanterns come to life as darkness falls. Photo by Susan Miele
Know Before You Go to The Great Jack-o’-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley
- No tickets are sold on-site. Be sure to purchase your timed-entry tickets ASAP to ensure you don’t miss out.
- The Blaze Hudson Valley is tough to navigate with a stroller (and wide, double strollers might not fit through all the passageways). The grounds sometimes get muddy, so wear sensible shoes.
- Visitors experience The Blaze Hudson Valley by walking along a trail in a single direction. Those wishing to stop to take pictures are asked to stick to the right to allow others to pass on the left.
- Try to buy tickets for around dusk. That way you can watch the jack-o’-lanterns come to life as the darkness envelopes them.
This was originally published in 2012. Writer Susan Miele contributed additional reporting.