The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley is a must-do Halloween event in the tri-state area. Now in its 19th year, The Blaze Hudson Valley is a walk-through Halloween experience scheduled to run 61 nights between September and November 2023. Halloween season might seem far off, but The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze is a perennial sell-out, and tickets just went on sale. Act fast to get yours or risk missing 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.
Subscribe to our newsletters to get stories like this delivered directly to your inbox.
Visiting The Blaze Hudson Valley
The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze is the event of the Halloween season in the Hudson Valley, and we've got all the info you need to plan a visit to The Blaze Hudson Valley in 2023.
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.
RELATED: Great Fall Foliage Destinations in Westchester and the Hudson Valley
The Blaze Hudson Valley is seasonally spooky; make sure very young visitors are comfortable with that.
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. More highlights include 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 lineup includes a twirling Ferris wheel and a pumpkin ode to circus sideshows.
RELATED: 30 Fall Day Trips from NYC for Families
Jack-o'-lanterns stretch as far as the eye can see.
What Ages Should Visit The Blaze Hudson Valley?
Officially an all-ages attraction, The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley is more entertaining than scary, but The Blaze can be overwhelming for some. Creepy music blares from speakers around you. Kids with sensory issues might not enjoy the excitement. If you're visiting with little ones, be advised that narrow paths and big crowds may make it hard to navigate with a stroller.
How To Get Tickets to The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze
A handful of Flex Tickets allow visitors to attend any night the show is open, but act now if you want to purchase them; they usually sell out first, despite their higher price tag—a whopping $129 per ticket.
General admission timed-entry tickets are also available and cost $32 for adults; $24 for children ages 3-17. Those ages 2 and under enter for FREE. If plans change, you can reschedule 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.
RELATED: Historic Hudson Valley Expands Tour Offerings for Summer Visitors
Pumpkin carvers are creative at The Blaze—take these colorful jack-o'-lantern jellyfish, for example.
How Long Does a Visit to The Blaze Last?
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 15 through Sunday, November 19, 2023.
Getting to The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze Hudson Valley
If you're traveling by car, there is ample FREE parking on-site. You can enter the parking lot up to 1/2 hour before your scheduled ticket time. The Blaze Hudson Valley is also accessible via public transportation. Take a one-hour train ride from Manhattan on the Metro-North to the Croton-Harmon station. The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze is a 10-minute walk or five-minute cab ride away.
More Halloween Fun in the Hudson Valley
The Historic Hudson Valley, which organizes The Great Jack-o'-Lantern Blaze, sponsors several other local events during the Halloween season, including the brand new event at Phillipsburg Manor, dubbed The Spirits of Sleepy Hollow Country: A Night of Legendary Magic, which features master illusionists Mark Clearview and Nick Wallace communicating with Sleepy Hollow spirits. We're betting this spooky nighttime celebration is best saved for big kids and teens!
Washington Irving's Sunnyside estate is once again the backdrop for a pair of Sleepy Hollow-themed events. Explore the Home of the Legend during a family-friendly daytime event, which includes a tour of the cottage, a puppet film, and a Legend-themed exhibit. Brave souls can visit after dark for Irving’s Legend, to hear master storyteller Jonathan Kruk and musician Jim Keyes bring the story to life.
RELATED: Great Fall Getaways from the New York City Area
Pro tip: Buy your tickets for dusk, so you can watch the jack-o'-lanterns come to life as darkness falls.
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.
Photos by Tom Nycz/Historic Hudson Valley