By Paige Cornicelli and Fred Wu
Fifty bright orange pumpkins perch on wooden boats, their sharply cornered eyes and curled mouths glowing brightly from the lights inside them. Carved witches and cats stare forward ominously, the swish of the water calling them to set sail.
The seventh annual Great Jack-o-Lantern sail took place at Belmont State Park on October 26 at 3 P.M., in Babylon, N.Y.. The event sends 50 hand-carved pumpkins out onto Belmont Lake on wood boats, off to find their souls. Stations around the event offered kid friendly crafts, trick or treating, play stations and a toddler friendly, spook-free area.
“I think it [the event] is great,” Greg Leptevsky, a parent attending the event with his daughter, said. “They obviously are enjoying the pre-Halloween festivities before the actual halloween.. Because the alternative is spending time in front of YouTube.”
Starting at 3 P.M., the event features trick-or -treating, Halloween themed crafts, games like minigolf and cornhole, and a petting zoo. After the afternoon day events, the night caps off with main event. The boats lining the lake set sail at 6:15, Anderson-Ruiz said.
“This is the seventh annual Great Jack O’Lantern sail,” Jessica Anderson-Ruiz, the recreation supervisor of the Long Island Region Recreational Department said. “Each year it is growing in attendance… It’s a free event, and all of the vendors that set up they have trick or treating stations so the kids can either collect candy or various prizes.”
The day saw a clear sky, mild winds and an average temperature of just under 60 degrees. The nice weather and easy-going activities, however, did not do it for some members of the crowd.
“I think it’s very nice, great weather,” Cristina Rabusin, participant of the event, said. “But it would have been great to see a little bit more happening.”
As the night began to wrap up, the excitement for the final event took over. Children and adults crowded the lake, hand-carved pumpkins by their sides.
“At the end of the event when it gets a little dark,” Rhonda Moziy, an event partaker, said. “The kayakers will go out and light up the pumpkins… people line the fences [around the lake] and the kids get really excited to see the pumpkins all lit up.”