This is what I have always done and it works fine. It's easy and one person can do this in 20min. or less.
When the water gets to 50 degrees I shock the pool the night before closing and let it mix well.
Next day I lower the water just below the returns.
I hook up my pancake compressor to an air fitting that's screwed into the drain hole of my pump.
Turn on the compressor and since the hose is attached to the air nipple in the pump it will start pumping air into the lines.
The water will be pushed out of skimmer 1 first. When it bubbles and spits. Plug it.
Next will be the 2nd skimmer. Just like above. Plug it.
Next will be the 1st return. Plug it.
Next will be the 2nd return. Plug it.
Now all that's left is the main drain and the air is now pushing that water out as your walking back to the pump. When you see air bubbles come up from the main drain. Turn the main drain valve to off. And turn off the compressor. You just created an air lock on the MD.
I then go back to the skimmers, remove the plug and pour a gallon of antifreeze in each skimmer and put the plug back in.
I then pour 1/2 gal antifreeze in each skimmer box. Last , I put a half filled antifreeze jug in each skimmer box to prevent ice expansion from cracking the plastic boxes.
I then take some wire and wire the main drain Handel so no one can turn it and break my air lock. Remove and store pump where it does not freeze.
Does my little compressor blow out all the water? No But the water that's in there is way below frost line.
Do I need a special blower that I only use once a year? No
Also, I will keep an eye on my water level until freeze up. Due to rain and the water level rising my goal is to always keep it a few inches below the bottom of the skimmer opening.
I will use the Garden hose siphon method to keep my water level in check.
Hope this helps.