Photo by Jessica Militello

BY JESSICA MILITELLO

Astoria restaurant, Queens Comfort spent its Halloween on more treats than tricks with its fourth annual Halloween-A-Go-Go Food Drive for St. Joseph’s Food Bank, just blocks away from the local business known for its nostalgic decorum of toys and trinkets along with family photos.

The goodwill event started at about 2 p.m., just when kids usually begin their Halloween festivities and went on until midnight offering a free food buffet, drinks, candy for trick or treaters, and a DJ for locals to stop by and donate canned food for a good cause while enjoying a night out with the family.

While Halloween is usually more associated with candy and costumes than giving back to those in need, Queens Comfort owner Donnie D’Alessio and his staff use the holiday as an excuse to help others.

“We have an appreciation for toys and horror movies,” said D’Alessio. “Halloween is just so dear to us, it’s like our favorite holiday. So with Thanksgiving around the corner we thought it was such a good opportunity to use the Halloween celebration to collect food for people that need it.”

D’Alessio and his staff always felt compelled over the years to set forth efforts to give back to the community, especially for those in need. Since St. Joseph’s is right in the neighborhood on 30th Avenue and 43rd Street, it only made sense to reach out and help where they can by doing a food drive on Halloween and even a toy drive at Christmas time.  

The restaurant’s manager, George Wolf, explained that in the year’s since they first put on their Halloween-A-Go-Go, the event has evolved from a few hours in the afternoon to a day long celebration.

“We wanted to get a combination of the food drive with a party later on,” said Wolf. “That’s the best of both worlds.” 

Aside from candy given out to young ones enjoying the holiday, the restaurant generously offered a buffet that was filled with some of the restaurant’s specialties. A mac-and-cheese buffet offered choices like buffalo chicken mac-and-cheese, and other tasty flavors like a butternut squash, in addition to burger sliders, waffle fries, and one free beer. Classic family Halloween movies played on the TV’s and the place was ornately decorated to fit the holiday. 

In the years since Queens Comfort started this unique and fun holiday event, the neighborhood has certainly been supportive of giving back and coming together for a good time. For D’Alessio, seeing everyone coming together is certainly one of the best parts.

“We usually have a wave of trick or treaters and their families coming in and then we have our regulars that will come later, so it’s a nice group,” said D’Alessio. “When you see all these people coming in it makes you feel good when you see everyone coming together [to give back] and enjoy themselves; it’s like a family.”

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