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On Taking My Family to Sleepy Hollow for Halloween

Halloween Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze 2011 Lisa Quinones Fontanez AutismWonderland

At The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in 2010
Sleepy Hollow, New York

Growing up, I remember hearing about The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I’ve never actually read the classic tale by Washington Irving (it’s on my to-read list), but I know the plot points. The Tim Burton version of Sleepy Hollow is one of my all-time favorite movies to watch during Halloween. And a few people still remember the 1949 Disney cartoon of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. (Even if you don’t remember, I bet if you Google it you’ll be like oh yeah …)

I knew that Sleepy Hollow was in New York, but I didn’t really know where it was until a few years ago. My husband and I  happened to be driving, and I saw the sign. I had no idea we were so close! The village of Sleepy Hollow is part of historical Tarrytown and only a 35-minute drive from our apartment in The Bronx.

I am fascinated with history and storytelling, so I knew Sleepy Hollow was someplace I needed to see. My 7-year-old son Norrin is still too young for the movie and book, but that doesn’t mean he’s too young to explore the village.

Three years ago, we made our first trip for The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. It was everything I imagined Sleepy Hollow during Halloween to be: spooky, magical, and fun. There were pumpkins everywhere and warm apple cider to tame the fall chill in the air. Unfortunately, we haven’t been back since. The last two Halloweens in New York have had crazy weather.

With the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze sold out, we decided to just spend the afternoon in Sleepy Hollow. And I am so happy we did!

It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. — Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

We had a great afternoon, and we can’t wait to go back. The village of Sleepy Hollow is beyond the setting of a classic tale — it’s a place filled with history and charm.

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Read more of Lisa’s writing at AutismWonderland.

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