Hand-Carved Pumpkin Does the Talkin’ for This Newly Engaged Couple at ‘The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze’

Each year, more than 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins illuminate the grounds of a Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., manor as part of a spectacle called “The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.” Attendees from hundreds of miles around gather on dark autumn nights to marvel at the elaborate displays of jack–o’–lanterns carved for the event by local artists.


Two Saturdays ago, Jonathan Ehrlich and girlfriend, Jenna Bonvino, were at the end of a one-hour loop around the impressive exhibition when Bonvino spotted a huge floral cake made entirely out of pumpkins. Prominently displayed was a single pumpkin carved with the phrase, “Jenna Will You Marry Me?”


At first, Bonvino, 28, wasn’t sure if the message was for her. But then Ehrlich, 32, dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. “I was shaking like crazy,” she told TODAY.com. “It didn’t feel real.”


“All I heard was people saying, ‘Is that Jenna? Is that Jenna?’” Bonvino recalled. “I kept yelling, “I’m Jenna! I’m Jenna!” and “I said, ‘Yes!’”

Ehrlich explained that even though he usually doesn’t break down under pressure, this proposal got the better of him, rendering him almost speechless.

“I prepared all these things to say and I don’t think I said a quarter of what I wanted to,” he told lohud.com. “When the moment finally happened, I don’t know what happened to me. I kind of just lost it. I kind of fell apart and lost my cool and was this fumbling idiot. I said some stuff and I’m sure it was great.”


Knowing that he and his girlfriend love the fall season, and especially Halloween, Ehrlich arranged with The Blaze coordinators to have a pumpkin carved especially for their proposal. The pumpkin, designed by artist Cheryl Bernstein, features a silhouette of the couple holding hands. The image is based on shadow cast and captured by the couple when they were on a boardwalk in California.


The pumpkin now resides on a dresser in the couple’s apartment in Queens, N.Y. “I love looking at it every day,” she told TODAY.com. “I look at it just as much as I look at my ring, and it keeps a constant smile on my face.”

“As soon as you get engaged, people say, ‘Show me the ring, and how did he do it?’” Bonvino continued. “I have such an awesome story. It’s really special to us. It was truly perfect.”

The proud bride-to-be posted a shot of the proposal pumpkin to her Instagram account with the following caption: “Had the most unbelievable weekend… my best friend asked me to marry him [heart] #engaged #lovehim #bestfriend #pumpkinblaze2015 #SOEXCITED #AGHHHH.”

“The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” takes place at Van Cortlandt Manor, an historic landmark that dates back to the 18th century. Some locals believe the property is haunted, which makes it an even more attractive location for a spooky Halloween extravaganza.

Artists begin their carvings in June in preparation for the big event in October. If you’re wondering how the pumpkins can last five months without shriveling into an ugly mess, the answer is: “They don’t.” The artists work with convincing replicas.

Croton-on-Hudson is about 40 miles north of New York City. Due to popular demand, “The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze” added 16 new time slots to its fall schedule, which runs through November 15. More info is here

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Images via Facebook/The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze; Jonathan Ehrlich; Jenna Bonvino;

Georgia Bulldog Linebacker Surprises Girlfriend With a Post-Game Proposal on the 50-Yard Line

After tricking his girlfriend into believing that she was simply participating in a post-game “Senior of the Week” celebration, middle linebacker Jake Ganus pulled out a ring and proposed to Peyton Thomas on the 50-yard line after Georgia’s 52-20 throttling of South Carolina on Saturday.


Ganus had been planning the proposal for months with the help of his head coach, teammates, family and the University of Georgia Athletic Department. The ruse was that Ganus had been named “Senior of the Week,” an honor that allows for photo ops on the enormous “G” logo at midfield of the 92,000-seat Sanford Stadium.

To add extra credibility to the story, the girlfriend of sixth-year offensive tackle Kolton Houston texted Thomas to affirm that she participated with her boyfriend the year before and the experience was a lot of fun. In a press conference after the game, Ganus admitted that there is no such thing as “Senior of the Week.”


Ganus had told his coach and teammates that he would only go through with the proposal if the Bulldogs were victorious. On Saturday, as he came off the field with five minutes to go and his team well ahead, he started to get very, very nervous.

“I’m like, ‘Oh man. I’ve really gotta do this,’” Ganus told dawgnation.com. “My stomach started getting in knots, people started coming up to me, nudging me like, ‘Alright man, alright.’”


When the moment of truth arrived, the 6’2″ Ganus was on his game. With the ring box hidden in his left hand, he proudly escorted his girlfriend to the center of the big “G.” She said she was a little suspicious when a throng of photographers came along.


“All of these cameras were following us, and I was kinda freaking out because I didn’t know what was going on,” Thomas told Bleacher Report. “He grabbed my hand and started telling me how much that he loved me, and I started crying because I knew what was happening and it hit me all at once.”


Then the strapping 230-pound defensive dynamo, still wearing football gear, settled down on one knee and proposed to the girl he’s loved since their high school days in Chelsea, Alabama.


Of course, she said,”Yes.” The couple embraced and were greeted at midfield by friends, family and the rest of the Bulldog football team, a group of guys Ganus calls his “brothers.”


The halo-style engagement ring seems to be designed in white gold or platinum and features a round center stone and a diamond-accented split-shank band.


The romantic moment has become a sensation on television, the internet and social media.


“I didn’t really expect it to turn out like it did, go viral and all that,” Ganus told dawgnational.com. “But it’s crazy. I just wanted to do something special for her and it turned into something a lot more.”

“His family was in on it, my family was in on it, coach [Mark] Richt was in on it, the players were in on it,” Thomas said. “I had no idea.”

The couple is planning a July 2016 wedding.

Screen captures via Vimeo.com; Twitter/JakeGanus; Twitter/PeytonThomas; Twitter/GeorgiaBulldogs; Instagram/JakeGanus_51; Instagram/PeytonThomas.