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Editorial: Jack O’Lantern Tour Thrills Long Island Again

This weekend, I chaperoned a Girl Scout Troop to see Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns tour at Old Westbury Gardens where more than 5,000 carved pumpkins returned to Long Island for its annual display; the carving talents are unreal. The girls were most impressed with the commercial character carvings such as Angry Birds and the Disney princesses. The fathers who chaperoned were attracted to the sports team carvings, although everyone was in amazement at the “tribute” pumpkins, carved to honor the greats like Neil Armstrong, Lewis Carroll, Albert Einstein, and Whitney Houston. Others adored the scenic carvings like Coney Island, Statue of Liberty, the Montauk Lighthouse, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Naturally though, we were all amazed to see the historic scenes of Girl Scouting carved in pumpkins set on special pedestals, such as the flag raising, cookie sales, and camping.

Although the tour is not that long in distance, approximately 1/3 of a mile, plan for the transit through to last more than an hour. For the younger kids, we put glowstick lanyards on each of them to identify them in the crowd; each girl brought a little flashlight to identify strange noises in the night gardens because some areas of the walking tour are dimly or not lit. And most important, make everyone stop at the bathroom before entering the tour.

The popularity of this non-scary Halloween treat is growing. Many of the tour slots sold out four weeks ago, and more than 3,000 tickets were sold to Girl Scouts and their families.

Pre-reserved tickets are required and available at www.therise.org/. All visitors need tickets; children ages 4 and under are free, but also need an admission ticket. Tour times are still available through Oct. 28.

— CH