Those Halloween hijinks reach a crescendo this weekend. There’s plenty to see and do before that candy overload next Thursday. And certainly, after Superstorm Sandy ravaged last year’s festivities, we’re all ready to set out on some ghoulish — or semi-ghoulish adventures.
Whether you want to step back in time to celebrate Halloween the way Long Islanders did over 120 years ago, at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, stop by Molloy College’s Madison Theatre for its Halloween Fun Fest or find some other scary doings nearby, Halloween lovers of all ages can partake of scary and not-so-scary thrills and chills. Here’s a roundup of where to go.
A Haunted Halloween at the Mysterious Village
It certainly wouldn’t be Halloween season without the annual extravaganza at Old Bethpage Village Restoration, which gives a 19th century spin to our modern-day festivities, with ghost stories, pumpkin carving, and a tour of some haunted
Those long-ago Halloween celebrations involved ghost stories and mischief making of all kinds, like removing gates and tipping over sheds and outhouses. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans also began to dress in costumes and go house-to-house asking for food or money (which eventually became our “trick or treat” tradition). Old Bethpage Village brings back these centuries-old customs with a broad range of family-friendly activities:
* Readings of Irish and American ghost stories, including the tale of Washington Irving’s * Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and its famous Headless Horseman.
* Recounting the tales of the local grave-digger (who often fired his musket in the air to keep away spirits) and hearing about 19th century superstitions.
* Carving Jack-O-Lanterns, actually an old Irish custom, and scarecrow making.
* Participating in a 19th century “monster scavenger hunt” throughout the village.
* Meeting the local tombstone cutter, with an appearance by the Grim Reaper.
* A demonstration of broom making for witches.
* A tour of haunted habitats on a village ghost walk.
The fun takes place Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $10 adults, $7 children 4-14 and seniors. Old Bethpage Village Restoration, Round Swamp Rd., Old Bethpage. (516) 572-8400.
Creatures of all kinds inhabit the woods, and ghosts and ghouls come out to play at Tanglewood Preserve, home to the Center for Science Teaching and Learning (CSTL), in Rockville Centre. The event, now in its fifth year, has become a Halloween staple for area families.
Each year the festival offers a spirited fun-filled slate of activities on the preserve’s 16 acres, with scary and not-so scary options. The wooded paths have been transformed for Halloween, with eerie lighting, special effects and characters along the way. Everything is perfectly spooky and a little scary. Creatures of all kinds inhabit the woods; the strange and beautiful will draw visitors along the eerie paths.
This time of year visitors will find that the preserve’s woods are definitely haunted; those who venture along the scary walk will run into all sorts of creatures. This quarter-mile hike through the woods is not for the faint-of-heart, it will leave kids clinging to their parents legs. Every October the abandoned cemetery in the woods comes to life and a group of hikers have entered the woods against the staff’s caution and have not returned. Visitors try find them, or what’s left of them. The walk features an abandoned cemetery where zombies come to life and are in search of their favorite food — brains!
“Be prepared to be scared,” says CSTL President RayAnn Havasy, “And for the ultimate scare, try our Maze of Madness, which has new features this year that are scarier than ever.”
As always, a not-so-spooky walk — through the Magic Meadow — is offered for younger children. There are also 40 or so live animals to see (CSTL’s permanent residents) — snakes, turtles, goats, and owls, among others. Eerie lights and sounds fill the exhibit hall to make it festive and spooky for this family-focused Halloween adventure. Other activities include holiday-themed arts and crafts, and the return of the Mystic Den, with a fortuneteller and face painting. And be on the lookout for this year’s newcomers, those “Merry Monsters,” who will be wandering through the courtyard.
A goody bag is offered to the first 200 kids visiting each night. And, of course, costumes are encouraged.
Find out what’s lurking in the woods, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 25-26, 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 27, 6:30-9 p.m. Admission is $15, $10 children 12 and under. Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Tanglewood Preserve, 1 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre. (516) 764-0045 or www.cstl.org.
Halloween Fun Fest
Molloy College’s great lawn is the setting for a fall adventure, including some all-important haunting. The community event features a haunted house, pumpkin decorating patch, corn maze and scarecrow, along with a family concert in the college’s Madison Theatre.
Community organizations and Molloy’s student clubs have joined forces for this enjoyable day that celebrates the harvest season and Halloween. The many activities include mask making, chalk talk, bowling, cupcake decorating, and a tribute to Elton John, performed by Empty Sky.
The afternoon features a family concert of “A Night on Bald Mountain,” with young student dancers from Leggz Ltd. Dance, choreographed by Leggz Director Joan Hope MacNaughton. The dancers are accompanied by the Children’s Orchestra Society, under the baton of Michael Dadap, at 1 and 3 p.m. “It’s a fun piece that uses the classic music from Fantasia, involving four princesses, a cat and a witch,” McNaughton said. Her troupe first performed it three years ago at Old Westbury Gardens and has revived it for this festival. “Everyone becomes friends at the end, so this Halloween-themed piece has nice happy ending,” McNaughton said.
Everyone is encouraged to come in costumes and participate in the Halloween parade, Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.
Share some Halloween spirit, Saturday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Admission is $10 per child, $40 for groups of up to six children. Madison Theatre at Molloy College, 1000 Hempstead Ave., Rockville Centre. (516) 323-4444 or