The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is returning to Old Bethpage Village Restoration from Sept. 22 through Nov. 5, NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano reports. Credit: Anthony Florio

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is firing up a return to Old Bethpage Village Restoration from Sept. 22 through Nov. 5.

“Halloween is a holiday that's increasingly appealing to adults. It’s a fun escape that is growing in popularity,” says Rob Schweitzer, vice president of communications and commerce for Historic Hudson Valley. “Each year, the Blaze’s attendance has increased and our pumpkin displays have grown in size as well.” 

Walk through this half-mile loop featuring more than 7,000 illuminated pumpkins, all hand carved by local artists. The designs vary from classic Halloween characters to massive pumpkin displays featuring the Statue of Liberty, a 12-foot tall smoke-breathing sea monster and a 20-foot spiderweb made of jack-o'-lanterns.

“We even have a nautical theme featuring a lighthouse with a rotating light, an ocean scene, a boating scene and an underwater scene,” says creative director Michael Natiello. 


New this year will be a tribute to the circus with pumpkin characters like acrobats, clowns and sideshow artists such as a contortionist and a sword-swallower. Plus, there will be new costumed pumpkin creations with humanlike features including arms, legs and feet.

“These minion-like creatures are doing things amongst the installations,” says Natiello. “They are sculptural pieces.”

There will also be some pumpkin displays directly attributed to members of the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame such as Billy Joel, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and Mariah Carey.

“We try to localize things,” says Schweitzer. “One way we do that is by highlighting these great performers who have made their mark on the natives of Long Island.”


Another special treat this year will be the addition of the pumpkin carving tent where artists will do live carvings daily.

“We love showing off our skills but more importantly we want to inspire our visitors by teaching them how to carve a pumpkin,” says Natiello. “The pumpkin artists can even answer questions or give tips.”

Lead pumpkin carver Carol Hough of Massapequa designs up to 50 pumpkins a day. A basic pumpkin can take her 10-15 minutes to carve while the more intricate ones might take two hours.

“Faces are very hard because everyone has different characteristics,” says Hough. “If there’s the slightest change in a nose or an eye, it won’t look quite right.”

Hough is excited to be on display while she works her magic with a Sheetrock knife and an ice cream scooper.

“I believe seeing the carvers up close will help people connect to the show a bit more,” she says. “Some kids might say, ‘Can you do a ghost or a witch?’ We will take some requests to make the event more interactive.”

Refreshments will be served at Cafe Blaze showcasing treats from the Jericho Cider Mill as well as beer and wine.



WHEN | WHERE Sept. 22-24 and 29-30 (7-9 p.m.), Oct. 1-2 (7-9 p.m.), Oct. 6-7 and 13-15 (7-10 p.m.), Oct. 8-9, 11-12 (7-9 p.m.), Oct. 18-19 and 22 (6:30-9 p.m.), Oct. 20-21 (6:30-10:30 p.m.), Oct. 25-26 (6-9 p.m.), Oct. 27-31 (6-10:30 p.m.), Nov. 3-4 (6-9 p.m.) and Nov. 5 (5-8 p.m.); Old Bethpage Village Restoration, 1303 Round Swamp Road, Old Bethpage


ADMISSION Starting at $29 for adults, $19 for children, ages 3 to 17 

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