Eyes of wonder at the Blaze

“The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” was nothing short of a Halloween dream.

The awe-inspiring annual event, hosted by Historic Hudson Valley at Van Cordlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, was larger than ever before, welcoming guests through a walkthrough of charmingly ghoulish creativity. It came as no surprise that the parking lot was packed to capacity – on a Wednesday night at 8 p.m. – with license plates reading far-reaching states like Florida, Kentucky and Illinois. Newly-carved displays served as testaments to local landmarks and moments in time, from the Statue of Liberty to the new Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (otherwise known as the “Pumpkin Zee Bridge”), a circus train – as an ode to the traveling P.T. Barnum Circus founded in 1872 – and, of course, Sleepy Hollow’s notorious Headless Horseman. Also on display were intricate Celtic knots, a larger-than-life sea serpent crossing the Croton River, a sunflower field, a moving carousel and a color-changing Pumpkin Planetarium.

For about 45 minutes, it felt as if we were transported into an enchanting Halloween world. As a diehard lover of the spooky holiday, I never wanted it to end.

But when it did, we were thankful that we were guided to a festively themed gift shop, filled with everything “Blaze”-esque. I purchased pumpkin chowder and pumpkin chili mix, as well as a book of chilling stories, including Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.”

And certainly no trip to the Blaze would be complete without an apple cinnamon donut and freshly brewed apple cider – which were absolutely scrumptious.

For more about “The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze,” visit hudsonvalley.org.

— Danielle Renda

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