By Tammy Scileppi
The traditional harvest season signals Halloween is nigh. Once again, it’s time to dig out that scary rubber mask and witch’s hat or find a great costume on sale.
Steeped in legend, All Hallow’s Eve in Queens is never boring. Whether you’re a lone witch (or warlock) or part of a coven, there’s plenty to do here while spirits and creatures of the night freely roam city streets and gather under the moonlight to rejoice — perhaps in Astoria Park.
Like Halloween, the world seems a scary place these days, so it’s kind of reassuring when you spot decorated pumpkins and spooky stuff popping up everywhere: in neighborhood store windows and front yards.
“Halloween is a great time for families to celebrate fall outdoors. Nothing says fall quite like foliage and pumpkins, and we have both here at the farm,” said Queens County Farm Education Coordinator Kristin Allocco. “We’re proud to create a family-focused environment, where people can explore nature and celebrate the season so close to home.
“Visitors can pick a pumpkin, take on the challenge of our three-acre corn maze, and hayride through our nature trails every Saturday and Sunday in October.” Mulled cider and apples will be sold.
Check out some spooky events happening around the borough:
Halloween Haunted House
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway
Oct. 26-28, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This year the museum’s haunted house will be bigger and better. It’s housed in a new location for new twists and turns, as well as creepy surprises.
The museum’s annual Children’s Fall Festival will be held on Oct. 28. Kids of all ages are invited to wear Halloween costumes and enjoy live country western music, take pictures with character look-a-likes, enjoy a pie-eating contest and race in potato sacks. Admission is $5 per person.
Halloween Harvest Festival
Socrates Sculpture Park
32-01 Vernon Boulevard
Long Island City
Oct. 20, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The entire park will be activated with a concert and interactive dance performance.
“With over 2,000 visitors expected each year, we always have the challenged of not only bringing together our community in creative ways, but also capturing the essence of multiculturalism that reflects the diversity of our Queens neighborhoods,” said Shaun Leonardo, public programs director and coordinator of the event.
“In the past, we’ve tapped into ’80s hip-hop, celebrated Day of the Dead festivities, and even brought back ’90s glam rock,” he said. “It’s all about having an art-filled experience together, amongst the artworks in this one-of-a-kind venue. This year, we’re trying to capture our guests’ childhood memories of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ while introducing young kids to the story’s fantastical characters for the first time.
Check out the festival schedule, completer with “Wizard of Oz”-themed events:
•11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Costume-making workshops
•11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Harvest-food sale from Long Island City’s Breadbox Café, Rockaway’s Shore Fruit and The Queens Kickshaw
•11 a.m. to 3 p.m. – GrowNYC’s Halloween Costume Swap
•11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Face painting by Agostio Arts
•1 p.m. to 2 p.m. – Concert by Le nOZze di Carlo
•2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Annual Canine Costume Contest with L.I.C.’s Pooches Sport & Spa
•11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Featuring “Scarecrows” by Thomas and Guinevere
“Scarecrows” is an installation transposing the history of creative and historically important individuals from Queens into a field of free-standing, larger-than-life sculptures designed in the spirit of scarecrows and erected to protect the creative spirit of the park,” Leonardo explained. “As an extension of the installation, Jenny-Anne McCowan (“Guinevere”) will lead a public-participatory performance inspired by both the ‘Scarecrows’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz.’”
The streets of Queens come more alive than ever on Halloween, said Rob MacKay, director of of public relations, marketing and tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corp. He said his neighbor in Sunnyside always counts the number of visitors she gets on Halloween, “and she got more than 1,000 last year. Our street becomes a virtual parade of witches, Sponge Bobs and princesses for about six hours.
“But my friends from other parts of the borough also brag about their Halloween crowds. I think it’s a clear sign our borough of middle-class neighborhoods has many great places to trick-or-treat,” he said. “This is further proven by the fact that I have to buy candy weeks in advance, because all the local stores run out.”
Here are some Halloween activities that MacKay suggests: “I think the Maple Grove Cemetery scary walk and the Queens Museum of Art Spooktacular are the best,” he said.
Strange and Unusual with a Touch of the Paranormal Walking Tour
Maple Grove Cemetery
83-15 Kew Gardens Road
Maple Grove’s historian, Carl Ballenas, will share some true tales that should only be told at Halloween. At 3:45 p.m., the children’s portion will begin with a 15-minute costume parade. At 4 p.m., there will be expert storytelling, face painting, holiday crafts and lots of carved pumpkins. To participate in the carved pumpkin contest bring your pre-carved pumpkin with a candle inside. Pumpkin drop-off is from 3-5 p.m.; and viewing from 5-6 p.m. Suggested donation $5.
Boo! An Underwater Halloween Spooktacular
Queens Museum of Art
New York City Building
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Oct. 20, 2-5 p.m.
Zombie surfers, mummy mermaids, artists and guests dive into the deep sea for the third annual Spooktacular, inspired by the current exhibition – Caribbean: Crossroads of the World. Consider a shipwreck treasure hunt, a phosphorescent photo booth, sea monster mask-making, seaweed serenade, starfish Tarot card reading, coral reef candy sculptures and an underwater costumer parade. Admission is $75 for up to six family members, including two adults and $35 for one adult and one child. (Includes one-year family membership to museum.)
Halloween Parade, 5 p.m.
37th Ave. from 76th St. through 89th St.
Dead or Alive Halloween
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Catapults, bats and robots to celebrate the unholy marriage of science and Halloween. Free with admission. Extra fee for some projects.
Halloween Remixed at Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Blvd.
Oct. 27 and 28
Flushing Town Hall costume party at Oct. 27, 8 p.m. Celebration of Dia de los Muertos, Halloween and All Saints Day with interactive fun for the children at Oct. 28, noon.
Trick or Treat
Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107th St.
Oct. 27, 1-4 p.m.
Free Halloween craft workshop for kids, in the garden. Prizes are awarded for best costumes. Live jazz will be featured in the museum garden.
As the pubcrawls trend gains momentum in Queens, grown-up celebrants get the chance to celebrate Halloween while checking out all the “spirits.”
Oct. 27 and 31
This year in Bayside, all of the planning is being taken care of for you as the producers of the world’s biggest pub crawl, PubCrawls, are putting together another massive event during the most popular time of the year to party: Halloween.
PubCrawls has enlisted the help of some of the top bars in the city to host phenomenal drinks specials throughout the day. This is the perfect chance for you to visit some of the best bars in town and meet new friends while you’re at it. Get ready to don your best Halloween costume.
Safari Beach Club, 40-21 Bell Blvd. in Bayside, will be handling registration for the Bayside PubCrawl. Order tickets in advance online at pubcrawls.com. Tickets are $5. Bring printout when you show up. Admission gives you access to all other participating bars in New York.