*I apologize to my readers for the delay in updating 52 Brand New. We lost power due to Hurricane Sandy about 24 hours after this new experience. Luckily, we were safe and had only very minor damage to our home. We left for vacation 5 days later and still didn’t have power. Luke and Leah thought living without power should count as a New Experience, but I decided against it. First, living without power was unintentional. Second, it was such an unpleasant experience that I’d rather not include it as part of our exciting and fun New Experiences!*
The weekend before Halloween, the kids wanted to do something spooky. Luke really wanted to try a haunted hay ride at a local farm. I reminded him that he can’t even watch Scooby Doo without getting nightmares, but he still wanted to give it a try. I was not about to give in. I had gone on that local hay ride years ago, before I had children, and it scared the tuna salad out of me. There was no way I was going to take my kids. And, honestly, I don’t even want to give it another try. I think it would give me a nightmare, too!
Instead, we went to Brite Nites at the Wagner Farm Arboretum in Warren, New Jersey. It is a fundraising event in which over 1,500 jack-o-lanterns are lit up at once. Since we’d be walking in the dark, it would be mildly spooky, but not scary enough to give any of us nightmares.
I knew I made a good decision in skipping the haunted hay ride as soon as we got out of our car. Both my kids held my hands tightly as we walked through the farm parking lot. It was very dark, and both kids were just a bit nervous. They relaxed a bit once we entered the area where the jack-o-lanterns were set up.
The pumpkins were all hand carved and very intricate. We liked the pumpkins stacked and carved to form the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. The pumpkins arranged to form the Headless Horseman were amazing. The kids loved the Disney-themed jack-o-lanterns. Buzz Lightyear and Cinderella’s coach were favorites.
We were disappointed to discover that the pumpkins were artificial. Since Brite Nites runs for a couple of weekends in October, it makes sense to use artificial pumpkins and avoid issues with bugs and rot. However, we all felt that the use of “fake” pumpkins took a little of the magic away from the event.
Altogether, it was a fun way to set the mood for Halloween. It was just spooky enough to satisfy my children’s desire to be scared without incurring any sleepless nights!