Thousands of jack-o'-lanterns will create sculptures symbolizing Long Island — including replicas of the Montauk Lighthouse and Grumman’s Apollo Lunar Module — as The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze comes to Old Bethpage Village Restoration for the first time beginning Oct. 2.
More than 7,000 hand-carved jack-o'-lanterns will stretch throughout the wooded pathways, orchards and gardens for 23 designated nights through Nov. 1. In addition to the nods to Long Island, displays will include dinosaurs, a carousel and a spider web.
This is the second location for The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze — it has run for 16 years in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. "The experience has become hugely popular. We have been looking for another site for a couple of years now," says Rob Schweitzer, vice president of communication and commerce for the nonprofit Historic Hudson Valley. The organization partnered with Nassau County to bring the event to Long Island. "OBVR provides a perfect 19th century backdrop for this magical and spooky event which we hope will also help spur economic activity in our local communities," says Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
The Blaze is the second jack-o'-lantern extravaganza to come to Long Island. Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns, which has been running at Old Westbury Gardens with more than 5,000 jack-o'-lanterns each fall for nine years, won’t be happening this year, however, because the need to run at reduced capacity would make it too expensive to produce, according to the Mike Pollock, founder of Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns. "We hope to be back next year if the virus situation allows us to," Pollock says.
Schweitzer says he is confident Long Island can support two pumpkin-paloozas. "Halloween has become such a huge season, not just the holiday. There is a huge hunger for these kind of experiences," he says.
The venue will enforce safety protocols to protect against the coronavirus, Schweitzer says. Tickets will be sold online only for timed entry. Everyone 2 years and older must wear a mask at all times and follow the delineated one-way pathway. No food or beverages will be sold this year. "We really don’t want people to have any reason to remove their mask," Schweitzer says.
Tickets are on sale now at pumpkinblaze.org. Prices start at $32 per adult and $24 for children ages 3 to 17. Children younger than 3 are free. Old Bethpage Village Restoration is at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage. For more information, call 914-366-6900.