By Helen Klein
Wind whistles through the tree branches, which grow ever barer, day after day.
The sun scuttles itself in early evening, and the shadows -- eerie, omnipresent shadows -- grow longer, their attenuated tentacles reaching out lazily for passersby.
Autumn is here, and, across Brooklyn, a happy mix of suspense and anticipation grows stronger as the days grow shorter, jack o’ lanterns gather on stoops, and cobwebs shroud bushes.
Even those who most eagerly await the day know, in their bones, that Halloween will soon be here.
Kicking off the season is the legendary legerdemain of Gravesend Inn, New York City College of Technology’s High-Tech Haunted Hotel. “Enter if you dare,” warns a sign at the entrance to the hotel that is peopled with skeletons, ghouls, vampires and their chill-inducing kindred.
The web-encrusted, candlelit inn – which debuted in 2001-- will be open at the college’s Voorhees Theatre, 186 Jay Street, on eight days in the last half of October.
Shows are scheduled for Friday, October 16th, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, October 17th, 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.; Thursday, October 22nd, 1 to 5 p.m.; Friday, October 23rd, 6 to 9 p.m.; Saturday, October 24th, 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.; Thursday, October 29th, 1 to 5 p.m.; Friday, October 30th, 6 to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, October 31st, 1 to 5 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m.
General admission is $6 per person, $4 for students with ID. Parents are encouraged not to bring very young children. For further information, call 718-260-5588 during business hours, or 718-260-5592 for a recorded message.
A full roster of frightful apparitions, from vampires to witches, executioners to ghouls, will be on hand to greet intrepid visitors who venture along the annual Marine Park Haunted Walk, scheduled to take place this year from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 17th.
The adventure begins near the Salt Marsh Nature Center, Avenue U and East 36th Street, and wends its spooky way through the tall grasses and undergrowth that flank the nature trail.
A staple of the Halloween season, this is the 25th year that the Marine Park Haunted Walk will be held, thanks to a collaboration between the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the Marine Park Civic Association. For further information on the free event, call 718-421-2021 or log onto http://www.nycgovparks.org/.
Also on Saturday, October 17th, the scene shifts to Highland Park, which straddles the border of Brooklyn and Queens, for the park’s annual Fall Harvest Festival.
The free event, which will be held in the park, at Jamaica Avenue and Elton Street, will run from noon to 3 p.m., courtesy of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation working in partnership with the Independence Community Foundation.
This year, the annual festival will include a myriad of appealing seasonal activities with a native American theme, thanks to the assistance of the RedHawk Indian Arts Council. Among the afternoon events will be Flumpa and Friends Science Rocks, storytelling, country music, a puppet show, a wildlife show, a trivia contest, a pie-eating contest, and hayrides.For further information, log onto http://www.nycgovparks.org/, call 718-235-0815 or send an email to Margaret.Carrillo-Rosas@parks.nyc.gov.
Then, on Sunday, October 18th, the Old Stone House, in partnership with the Park Slope Civic Council and Park Slope Parents, will hold its fifth annual harvest festival.
The event, which will take place between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., will feature such kid-pleasers as a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, and a costume exchange in the park adjacent to the house, on Third Street, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.
For further information, contact the Old Stone House at 718-768-3195.
Halloween in Colonial Brooklyn will be recreated at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum, at 5816 Clarendon Road, in M. Fidler Wyckoff House Park, on Sunday, October 18th (raindate: Sunday, October 25th) , from noon to 4 p.m. The free event will feature a wide range of kid-pleasing activities. For further information, call 718-629-5400.
On Sunday, October 18th (raindate, Sunday, October 25th), artily garbed pooches head to Bay Ridge, to strut their stuff in the Canine Costume Contest that’s a focal point of the annual Narrows Botanical Gardens Harvest Festival.
The event, which runs from noon to 5 p.m., also includes an art show and a crafts fair. The Narrows Botanical Gardens is located in Shore Road Park between Bay Ridge Avenue and 72nd Street. Dogs must be registered in advance, between October 1st and October 16th, at Paws ‘N Claws Grooming, 57 Bay Ridge Avenue.
For further information about the event, log onto the organization’s website.
The frights continue on Brooklyn’s fabled seashore, at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island, which will thrill visitors with Halloween at the A-scarium. This family-friendly event, to which children are invited to come in costume, will be held the weekends of October 24th and 25th, and October 31st and November 1st.
Among the highlights of the event “monsters of the deep,” and the institution’s Haunted Sea-fari Perils of the Sea haunted house (which will be open weekends, beginning October 10th), as well as kid-oriented activities such as story-telling, music, pumpkin carving demonstrations, crafts and trick or treat stations.
Hours for Halloween at the A-scarium are noon to 4 p.m. Activities are free with Aquarium admission: $13 for adults, $9 for children ages two through 12, and $10 for seniors 65 years of age and older. Children under two are admitted free of charge.
The Aquarium is located at Surf Avenue and West Eighth Street. For further information, call 718-265-FISH.
There will also be a party in the pumpkin patch in Umoja Garden, at the intersection of Broadway and Putnam Avenue on Saturday, October 24th, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees at the free event will have the opportunity to harvest and decorate their own pumpkins, as well as planting fall flowers. For further information, log onto http://www.nycgovparks.org/.
This year, Coney Island USA will be throwing a grand Halloween bash at the museum, 1208 Surf Avenue, beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 24th. The event, said Dick Zigun, Coney Island USA.’s director, will feature, “Live music and creepy performances,” as well as an offbeat take on a long-standing Coney Island tradition. Instead of watching contestants cramming down hot dogs, party attendees will be able to observe a zombie brain-eating contest. The party will be held on all the building’s floors, Zigun added. Tickets are $25 per person.For further information, log onto http://www.coneyislandusa.com/, or call 718-372-5159.
On Sunday, October 25th, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will hold its annual Ghouls and Gourds event. Taking place from noon to 6 p.m., this perennial crowd-pleaser features a wide range of child-oriented entertainment, including Billy Jonas and the Band, Elizabeth Mitchell, Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem, and Sonido Costeno.
There are also other attractions that combine creativity with Halloween fun such as mask and junk-instrument making workshops.
Finally, garden-goers can join in a costume parade led by drummers from Maracatu NY, a Brazilian percussion group, and stilt walkers from Mortal Beasts & Deities. Kids can also meet children’s book authors and illustrators.
The event is free with admission to the garden. The fee on Sundays is $8 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and older and students over 12, free for children under 12. The garden is located at 1000 Washington Avenue. For further information, call 718-623-7200.
On Halloween weekend, there will be holiday events from one end of the borough to the other.
Right in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park will don its very own Halloween costume, as the central oasis in Brooklyn is reinvented with ghouls to spare.The star turn, of course, is the much-anticipated Haunted Walk to be held on Saturday, October 31st, from noon to 3 p.m., rain or shine. The event – which is populated by a host of horrible creatures, from zombies to witches, headless horsemen to ghosts -- is designed to shiver the spines of the thousands of intrepid souls who climb Lookout Hill each year.
For pure fun, there’s also an autumn carnival in the Nethermead. Both events, which are sponsored by the Prospect Park Alliance, will run from noon to 3 p.m. Admission is free.To reach the Haunted Walk, enter the park at Prospect Park Southwest and 16th Street.
Besides the Haunted Walk, there are plenty of other bewitching activities taking place in Prospect Park on the 31tst and also on Sunday, November 1st.
On both days, the park’s historic carousel will be metamorphosed into a haunted carousel, from noon to 5 p.m., as eerie music sets the scene and such creepy critters as ravens, spiders and bats join the wooden menagerie for the weekend. Rides cost $1.50 each.
The carousel is located at Children’s Corner, just inside the park’s Willink entrance, at Ocean Avenue, Flatbush Avenue and Empire Boulevard.
Scary stories from Flatbush history will bring the past to life at the Lefferts Historic House, at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., on both Saturday, October 31st and Sunday, November 1st. In addition, there will be scharen-knippen (or cut paper) craft sessions, in which children will have the opportunity to create their own skeleton cutouts, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day.
Admission to the events at the Lefferts House, which is located on Flatbush Avenue near Empire Boulevard, is free of charge. For further information, call 718-789-2822.
Also occurring on Saturday, October 31st and Sunday, November 1st is Creepy, Crawly Halloween, a nature-themed event held at the Audubon Center.
The free event, which takes place from noon to 5 p.m. both days, is targeted at families with children from three to 12 years of age and features seasonally-inspired crafts, hands-on experiments and encounters with live critters.
To get to the Audubon Center, enter the park at Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue and follow the directional arrows.
The Prospect Park Zoo is also holding its annual Boo at the Zoo event the weekend of October 31st and November 1st. Both days, visitors to the zoo will have the opportunity to visit the zoo’s renowned Haunted Barn. They will also have the chance to meet “spooky creatures” and participate in season-appropriate crafts. Activities are free with zoo admission.
The zoo is located at 450 Flatbush Avenue. On weekends through November 1st, its hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children three to 12, and $4 for senior citizens age 65 or older. For further information, call 718-399-7339.
In Carroll Gardens, families can sample the fearsome delights at Puppetry Arts’ fourth annual Haunted Halloween Carnival, which will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Street Recreation Center, on First Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues.
The free indoor event features a costume contest at 3:30 p.m., as well as a wide range of activities, including $1 games, activities and snacks, a haunted house (admission is $2) and a bounce house ($3 admission).
For information on the event, call 718-768-3703.
Ghostly lore is the big draw during a pair of Halloween tours of Green-Wood Cemetery led by the cemetery’s official historian, Jeff Richman. This year, Halloween at Green-Wood, part one kicks off at 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 31st, with part two taking place on Sunday, November 1st, also at 1 p.m.
The tours – which are sponsored by Green-Wood’s Historic Fund -- give walkers the opportunity to “celebrate the holiday with tales of murder, mayhem, spirits, and ghosts,” according to Green-Wood’s official website.
Tours cost $20 per person, $10 for members of the Historic Fund.
While no reservations are necessary, tour-goers are advised to arrive early because of the tours’ popularity. Tours last about two and a half hours and depart from the main gates of the cemetery, inside the 25th Street and Fifth Avenue entrance. Free parking is available inside the cemetery. Tickets can be purchased on line in advance.
On Halloween itself, Saturday, October 31st, get a fresh crop of goosebumps at the annual Halloween Haunted Walk, held in Bay Ridge’s Owls Head Park, 68th Street and Colonial Road, and produced by the SWB Parks Task Force, in conjunction with the city’s Parks Department.
Thousands of people are expected to venture along the walk’s eerie trail -- which will be at the bottom of the hill, this year, and which will be set up like a “giant winding cave with vignettes along the way,” according to organizer Chip Cafiero.
They will also be able to enjoy seasonal treats and activities at the adjacent Halloween carnival, whose highlights will include a costume contest for all ages, a food court, a magician, a pumpkin patch, pony rides, inflatable rides, costumed characters and a fairy tale forest for the littlest trick or treaters.The tentative hours for the event are 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. For further information, call 718-238-6044.
Also on Saturday, October 31st, costumed children can head for the annual Halloween Parade along Seventh Avenue in Park Slope. The parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m. at 14th Street, with marchers veering left on Third Street to Washington Park. Participants can join the festivities at the rear of the procession, according to the Park Slope Civic Council, which sponsors the event, which it says is the largest children’s parade in the country.
Check the PSCC website for further information.
Friday, October 16, 2009
By Helen Klein