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Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze casts pumpkins in new light
Jill Odom | October 31, 2015
Over 7,000 pumpkins are hand carved each year for the Great Jack O' Lantern Blaze.

Over 7,000 pumpkins are hand carved each year for the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze.
Photo: The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze

Jack-o’-lanterns are synonymous with Halloween and pretty much anyone can make one, but the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze blows the rest of the competition out of the water.

This bacchanalia of blazing pumpkins is held in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, and features more than 7,000 jack-o’-lanterns. The nonprofit Historic Hudson Valley puts on the event at the Van Cortlandt Manor and Blaze’s creative director, Michael Natiello, comes up with the overall designs.

In 2014, more than 1,000 volunteers helped with scooping and lighting work. Many pumpkins must be replaced during the event’s seven-week run so the Blaze orders around 10,000 pumpkins to start with.

Different areas at the event have themes such as Jurassic Park, Undersea Aquarium, Skeleton Emergence, and Buzzing Beehives. The majority of pumpkins are lit with LED lights.

Professional lighting designer Jay Woods works with a team that sets up the atmosphere and several of the installations have synchronized lighting to create the illusion of movement. The event also has its own music soundtrack for extra ambiance.

The Blaze has reached its 11th year. Last year, more than 120,000 people attended.

New features at this year’s Blaze include flying pumpkin ghosts, a circus train and a pumpkin planetarium.

Tickets must be purchased in advance. The proceeds from the jack-o’-lantern extravaganza support the programs of Historic Hudson Valley.

Here are the remaining dates in the 2015 Blaze event: Oct. 31-Nov. 1, Nov. 5-8 and Nov. 12-15. For more details about the Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, click.

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