Halloween in Sleepy Hollow Country is a Season, Not a Night

Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Van Cortlandt ManorIn a village like Sleepy Hollow, Halloween is certainly not going to be a one-night affair, nor will it be quiet. Halloween season in the greater Sleepy Hollow Country area actually gets in full gear on Saturday, Oct. 5, opening night of the tri-state area’s largest Halloween-inspired celebrations.

Continuing for 25 selected evenings through Nov. 11, The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze® at Van Cortlandt Manor in nearby Croton-on-Hudson is the Hudson Valley’s biggest all-ages Halloween extravaganza. A small team of artists comes together to carve more than 5,000 jacks, many fused together in elaborate constructions such as life-size dinosaurs and eight-foot-tall working jack-o’lanterns-in-the-box, all lit up throughout the historic site’s wooded walkways, orchards, and gardens.

Also making its debut at this year’s Blaze is the Museum of Pumpkin Art, the first ever exhibition space devoted to sculptural works inspired by (but not made from) pumpkins.

Legend of Sleepy HollowWashington Irving’s macabre tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow inspires Horseman’s Hollow, a 13-night interactive haunted attraction at Philipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, recommended for ages 10 and up. Stocked with professional actors and state-of-the-art special effects, Horseman’s Hollow has a high fear factor. Selected nights from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2.

Irving’s ‘Legend,’ recommended for ages 10 and up, brings the master storyteller Jonathan Kruk into the historic, candlelit interior of Sleepy Hollow’s circa-1685 Old Dutch Church, where for 13 evenings he offers a dramatic re-telling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow accompanied by live organ music.  Selected nights from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2.

The Legend Behind the ‘Legend’ is a new, daytime experience at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside in Tarrytown that highlights the author of the famous story.

Historic Hudson Valley produces these events and all proceeds support the Tarrytown-based private, non-profit educational organization.

The Great Jack O’ Lantern Blaze, taking place over 25 selected evenings, Oct. 5-Nov. 11, features elaborate single-pumpkin carvings and huge multi-jack o’lantern constructions.

Favorite themes such as the Undersea Aquarium and walk-through Tunnel O’ Pumpkin Love are joined this year by new installations including Venus Pumpkin Traps, an enormous sea serpent, a brontosaurus, and a pterodactyl. The brand new Museum of Pumpkin Art is the first ever exhibition space devoted to sculptural works inspired by (but not made from) pumpkins.

Also new this year is Blaze: The Soundtrack Volume II. Building on the success of last year’s soundtrack, Historic Hudson Valley teamed up with professional musician, radio personality, and Halloween fanatic Richard Christy to create a second volume of all-original music, selections of which will play throughout the event. The soundtrack is available as a CD at the event and also a digital download from iTunes and Google Play.

Horseman’s Hollow, a haunted experience in the heart of Sleepy Hollow, takes the tale of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to its darkest extremes. Historic Philipsburg Manor transforms into a terrifying landscape ruled by the undead, the evil, and the insane, all serving the Headless Horseman himself.

Haunted house professional Lance Hallowell leads a crew of award-winning makeup and costume designers and a 40-member-strong cast of experienced actors to create an immersive, interactive, pleasantly terrifying experience, with state-of-the-spooky-art special effects.

Custom built set pieces and period-correct costumes help orient the experience in Philipsburg Manor’s traditional time period of the mid-1700s. Lighting is by Emmy award-winning designer Deke Hazirjian of New York City Lites.

Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk offers a dramatic re-telling of Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, featuring the Headless Horseman, Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, and Katrina Van Tassel. Flavored with live spooky organ music by Jim Keyes, Kruk’s storytelling takes place in the historic, candlelit setting of the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow. The circa-1685 stone church is across the street from Philipsburg Manor, where visitors will park. Performances last about 45 minutes.

During October, Sunnyside celebrates its connection to Washington Irving’s classic tale, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Tours of Irving’s home – a colorful blend of architectural styles – will showcase numerous objects related to Irving’s famous story. Visitors on Saturdays and Sundays can enjoy a shadow puppet performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and experience one of Irving’s spooky tales on a walk through the woods.

These events sell out in advance! Tickets can be purchased online at www.hudsonvalley.org or by calling 914-366-6900.

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About the Author: Rob Schweitzer