When I was a kid, there was nothing that said “Halloween” like a trip to Powers Farm Market. We would pick out pumpkins, listen to the scary witch tell stories, eat donuts, and walk through the teepees to see all the intricate pumpkin carvings. They do a great job—I’ve always assumed local artists carved the pumpkins, but I’m not actually sure if that’s the case! But it’s definitely a highlight of the fall and I usually try to get upstate to visit my parents in the fall so that I can relive this childhood experience!
So naturally, when I learned about The Blaze—“the tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying Halloween event”—I had to check it out! Tickets were only $20 and it ended up being a super easy evening trip from NYC! You take the train from Grand Central to Croton-Harmon. It’s about a 55 minute ride and is $13.50 for peak fare and $10.25 for off peak. Then it’s an easy 10 minute walk to Van Cortlandt Manor. It’s sort of on a busy road and the website said it was “not pedestrian friendly.” But the website also said there would be cabs at the train station which we did not find to be true. Uber was going to be a 23 minute wait…and we’re New Yorkers, we walk!
When you arrive, you have to enter through a tented gift shop (of course! Also of course? I wanted to look at every Halloween thing they had!). Then there’s a little outdoor section where you can get drinks, sandwiches, and other treats…like cider donuts! We got sandwiches and cider and waited for our turn to enter. And then it was time to be awed:
Almost every detail is a carved pumpkin, including these street lamps! I didn’t even notice that they weren’t real street lamps at first!
This circus train was pretty awesome! I forgot to take a picture of the car with the sloth in it. You’ll just have to go check it out yourself!
This is one of those “what I wanted my bedroom to look like when I stuck those glow in the dark stars on my ceiling” photos. If only I could show you the “pinterest fail” version of the crappy big dipper I attempted to make on my ceiling in like 5th grade.
The headless horseman was definitely a highlight given that we were in Sleepy Hollow territory!
Claire thought these were probably the witches from Macbeth. My guess? The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus!
I want to see this one in the daytime and understand how they build all these structures out of pumpkins!
Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movie franchises so I was a big fan of the dinosaurs. (Side note: I’ve always maintained that Jurassic Park could come true. The DNA science feels really plausible to AP Bio certified me!)
I wondered about this dinosaur bone pumpkin and whether it was meant to look like something else? Like when Disney artists sneak something dirty into animated movies…
These guys were wonderfully creepy and made me think of various Disney Channel Halloween-themed movies of my childhood!
In case it’s not clear by all the photos, The Blaze is the pumpkin activities of childhood on crack! And it was well worth the $20 ticket and the trip out of the city. Even on a weeknight! Of course at the end, you have to exit through the gift shop. Where you can buy almost any pumpkin themed item you can dream up (well, except cheerios or oreos). Including: pumpkin butter, pumpkin pancake mix, pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice soap, pumpkin spice syrup, pumpkin curry sauce, pumpkin mole sauce…yeah, it’s a pumpkin-lovers’ dream!