tunnel jacksFamily-oriented Halloween festivities usually focus on kids, costumes and candy — with adults trailing behind wishing it was over. But The Great Jack-O’-Lantern Blaze is one event that the whole family can enjoy.  At this elaborate outdoor walk-through experience, families will see over 4,000 individually hand-carved jack o’ lanterns in more shapes and designs than you ever thought possible.

The jack-o’-lantern  has long been associated with Halloween.  Derived from an Irish Christian folktale, it actually began as a carved turnip that was meant to represent the soul who has been denied entry into both heaven and hell.  Immigrants brought this tradition over from Europe in the 19th century but eventually substituted the turnip for the native North American pumpkin which, let’s face it, is easier to carve.

The Blaze event takes the tradition of pumpkin carving to a new level.  As you meander through the picturesque grounds of the historic Van Courtland Manor in Croton-on-the-Hudson, NY, an eerie soundtrack accompanies each pumpkin vignette.  There are the usual Halloween suspects like carved skeletons, witches and vampires but also expect to be surprised and delighted by the unexpected.

witchesThis show is particularly great for families with younger children who are not old enough for the scary haunted house-themed events and for grandparents who don’t relish costumed spooks jumping out around every corner.

Historic Hudson Valley

The event is run by Historic Hudson Valley,  the preservation organization which also owns several historic sites in the area including the Phillipsburg Manor, Washington Irving’s Sunnyside Mansion and Kykuit, the Rockefeller Estate.

The organization also puts on other Halloween events nearby such as the Horseman’s Hollow, a scary 10+ haunted house experience and Irving’s Legend, a dramatic performance of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.