BEST PLACES TO HEAD FOR HALLOWEEN
by Nick D'Arienzo
Oct 23, 2008 | 7848 views | 0 0 comments | 62 62 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Did you know that Americans spend an estimated $6.9 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday? For a misbehaving few, Halloween is all about pranks and hooliganism; for those of the Goth persuasion, it’s a time to celebrate the macabre; and for, oh, about 10% of us let’s say, it’s a time for dressing up and excessive flamboyance, just to be diplomatic. But for the youngest of us, and the young at heart, Halloween can be a real community experience – as was its original intention here in America – and a bona fide orange and black warm-up for the real community holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Herewith, a couple of places around town that we thought very much exemplified that spirit.

Middle Village

DANNY BOY’S

64-56 Dry Harbor Road

(718) 894-3488

The sign outside says, “Kids Eat Free, Our Treat” – and oh what a treat it is! Hamburgers (Boo Burgers!), hot dogs, soda, fries, you name it, this is a kids party like no other. All for free, Come October 31st, they get the back room all to themselves – and are encouraged greatly to come in costume! Halloween at DANNY BOY’S is one of the true community events of the year, and one of the most generous outpourings of community spirit we get to see from co-proprietors Tommy Ruth and Dennis Boissel. Usually starts around sundown, but it sure does fill up early, folks, so plan ahead. And once again, come in costume!

Maspeth/Elmhurst

PARTY CITY

74-17 Grand Avenue

(718) 205-2266

We love the PARTY CITY on Grand Avenue, but especially around Halloween time. There’s something unbelievably fun about checking out the huge wall of costumes available – matching the picture or sketch to the number, asking the clerk to get one from the back for you, and then trying it on right then and there just to make sure. And when we say they have everything? They really do – there are thousands of costumes here! I’ve no doubt Obama, McCain, Palin et. al. would be the quickest to go, but I wouldn’t surprised if you could easily have your pick of leftovers like Hillary or Bush or some such. Anyway, get thee to PARTY CITY – they don’t call it that for nothing.

Glendale

ART WORLD

THE SHOPS AT ATLAS PARK

8000 Cooper Avenue

(718) 366-6337

Leave it to a place like ART WORLD to go all out for fall. This top notch establishment, formerly located on bustling Austin Street, has made excellent use of its brand new space at The Shops At Atlas Park, where product and design are sometimes one and the same. ARTWORLD is far more than a simple framing shop, though, it’s a lavish garden of home furnishings and eclectic accessories, thus creating an elegant backdrop to their custom framing department. But don’t just take my word for it – get on over there. (And meander about the grounds, will ya? There’s something decidedly cozy about autumn in Atlas Park, especially as dusk settles on our community – albeit earlier and earlier every evening!)

Maspeth

SCALA PASTRY SHOP

69-51 Grand Avenue

(718) 478-2232

A lot of great bakeries in our area “rise to the occasion” come Halloween-time, but we’ve always been particularly fond of SCALA PASTRY SHOP here. (Mostly, because it’s across the street from our offices!) SCALA always gets decked out for any holiday, and Halloween is no exception. Here, you will find some deliciously frosted cupcakes, brightly colored Halloween-themed sugar cookies, and even specialty cakes that can be made to order at your request. (Not to mention, of course, some of our traditional favorites like their Pasticiotti, Pignoli cookies, crumb cake, turnovers, etc!)

Rego Park

SIR LANCE’S LOT

62-77 Woodhaven Boulevard

(718) 424-2110

You’re not going to find more exquisite Halloween costumes than those at SIR LANCE’S LOT where designer Lupe Jusino and her husband Bill have for years now managed to bring the caprices and whims of our neighborhood’s children to life when it comes to dressing up – as a pirate, a frog, a witch, a fairy princess. These one of a kind works of art require impeccable attention to detail, and while you’re probably cutting it close at this point to have something by the 31st, you just might want to take a look at their showroom all the same, and see if there might be something “off the rack,” as they say. (Or to really get yourself in the mood, check out their new website, www.SirLancesLot.net) Either way, we’re sure you’ll be back.

Forest Hills

RICKY’S HALLOWEEN

107-29 Continental Avenue

(718) 575-4052

If your Halloween costume tastes run a little on the racier side, you’re not going to be more pleasantly pleased than when you take a peek at the offerings at RICKY’S HALLOWEEN. RICKY’S has been furnishing a great deal of the whimsy for the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade that struts up 6th Avenue every year via various outlets throughout our fair city, and now for the first time ever, Forest Hills has got a RICKY’S of our own, albeit a temporary one. Interested in what it might be like to be Client #9, for example? RICKY’S has just the trick, pardon the expression.

Forest Hills/Glendale

STOP & SHOP

8989 Union Turnpike

(718) 846-2310

Regular readers of these pages know we’re huge fans of the STOP & SHOP on Union Turnpike, a veritable city unto itself (hey, does it have its own zip code yet?) Anyway, it’s why we can’t think of a better place to head for some of the other Halloween-related sundries, especially the ones doled out to eager trick-or-treaters, like candy corn, for example, or bags and bags of those mini-candy bars. Oh and by the way, still need a pumpkin? Have they got pumpkins, people! You can’t miss ‘em. (Well, unless they’re already gone, that is…)

Ridgewood

SWEET SPOT/HALLOWEEN STORE

67-01 Forest Avenue

(347) 408-6191

Yes, the quaint little ice cream shoppe on Forest Avenue is now selling Halloween paraphernalia, too. And by the way, you’re not likely to find friendlier service than right here, folks – something greatly appreciated for a holiday that can sometimes be a rather rude one. Want to dress up like Sarah Palin this year? Come on over. What about Heath Ledger as The Joker? Here you go. Maybe even a seductive Red Riding Hood is more your style? They’ve got it here, too, as well as trick or treat bags, fake blood, all kinds of masks, and just about everything else you’re going to need. (And by the way, if they don’t have it, I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually try to get it for you, it’s that kind of place.)

Greenpoint

McCARREN PARK GREENMARKET

Lorimer Street and Driggs Avenue

Hey, the holiday’s also supposed to be about the harvest, right? Well, why not take a gander some time at what some of our very best local farmers have brung us courtesy of Mother Nature. Apples, pumpkins, squash, cranberries, bread, jams, pies. Not only that, someone’s invariably got some hot cider going, right? Certainly worth poking around stall to stall for that, wouldn’t you say? The GREENMARKET is open Saturdays, from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. (For more info, please call Michael Hurwitz at (212) 788-7476.)

Prospect Park

BROOKLYN BOTANIC GARDEN

1000 Washington Avenue

(718) 623-7200

At the annual GHOULS & GOURDS festivities here, kids 12 and under are encouraged to come show off their costumes, carouse with some colossal puppets, and enjoy a whole afternoon’s worth of music for families by the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, John Carlin & The Kids Music Underground, Guy Davis, Bash the Trash and the Von Swing Family. Plus, chat with celebrated children’s book authors and illustrators, cavort with stilt walkers, feed carnivorous plants, enjoy Thai pumpkin carving, get inked at the tattoo parlor, create recycled junk instruments… okay, okay, so do you get the picture now? This afternoon is chock full of a whole lot of fun! And it all takes place Sunday October 26th from NOON to 6:00 pm. Enjoy!

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