Today wrapped up our various celebrations of Halloween as we went to the Blaze, in Croton-on-Hudson in New York. On the grounds of the 18th-century Van Cortlandt manor, thousands of pumpkins are arrayed in various thematic groupings. We hadn't been before and were glad to get tickets this year.
Before our ticket time, we grabbed (a very mediocre) dinner at a Greek restaurant nearby. The kids liked it, but I thought it was dry and under-flavored. But we LOVED the French bakery La Tulipe. But got a raspberry-lychee pastry; Sis, a caramelized croissant. I loved my rose-raspberry pastry. And we have some macaroons we can't wait to eat.
Then off to the Blaze. We saw a carver right up front who had one big, important tip: cut off the bottom of the pumpkin and place the candle on the ground--this allows the pumpkin to dry out without staying damp and causing rot.
And right away we began to see some of their pumpkins--along walls and even lit in an arch. Then we followed the lit path to see the different displays. In front of the manor, there was a circus with animals, and even a clown doing flips! They also had a giant cake to celebrate their 10th anniversary. There were also spiders with a giant spider web, Macbeth's witches with a cauldron, a whole graveyard with tombstones and hands coming out of the earth, skeletons, a yard full of cats, a tree full of eyes, even a headless horseman throwing his pumpkin head! There was also a pumpkin tunnel of love, with many of the designs using hearts, a whole yard of dinosaurs (complete with hatching dinosaur eggs!), a Chinese dragon or Loch Ness Monster-y thing, a yard full of sunflowers, Celtic knots in honor of the origin of Jack O'Lanterns, and hutches full of creamware-inspired pumpkins. All really quite amazing (and apparently, they end up carving most of them twice more because of decay over the month; some thousand a week! Though, one volunteer admitted that a few of the big base pumpkins were "funkins.")
It was lovely and not too terribly spooky, even with the skeletons and rats. And even though it was sold out, it didn't feel too packed. Worth going again, maybe every other year. We'll see if we're inspired to do any carvings ourselves next year!