Tag Archives: Halloween

Whitestone resident adds a little nightmare before Christmas

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

O’ holy fright, Whitestone.

Resident Kevin Lynch likes to mix his ghoulish décor for Halloween with Christmas decorations. For 18 years, Lynch and his family have been decorating their house for the season, starting with Halloween and Christmas. But rather than separating the two holidays, Lynch mixes the two, offsetting a severed head with a snowman.

“I changed the holiday around here,” Lynch said as he wrestled his way through nutcracker statues. “We call it Christmasween and all the kids around here get a laugh out of that word.”

Lynch started the tradition because his neighbor set up extravagant lights for Christmas, inspiring Lynch to do the same.

“And every year it gets bigger and bigger,” he said. As his son got older, they incorporated Halloween into the festivities, which resulted in Christmasween.

The whole house will eventually be completely adorned with thousands of festive lights and statues. But with Lynch doing the majority of the work, he begins setting up in mid-September.

When it’s all done, around Christmas, people from all over come to view the spectacle.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “It’s like a tradition. I have to do it. Even if I’m in a wheelchair, I’ll do it.”


Popular Middle Village ‘Halloween House’ possessed for 10 years

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Every Halloween there are traffic jams with people from around Queens waiting to get a glimpse and take pictures of Patrick Kenniff’s house in Middle Village.

And on the sidewalk an estimated 500 little trick-or-treaters line up for hours to view — and nowadays take selfies with — his horrifying home, known as the “Halloween House” by many in the neighborhood.

Kenniff, a musician who goes by the name “Swan,” started decorating his house on 75th Street near 68th Road for Halloween 10 years ago with a simple pumpkin head prop with an orange dress-like body. But ever since, he obsessively continued to add new decorations every year until there are now more than 100 decorations possessing the residence like a zombie parade. Viewing the house has become an annual attraction for families in the neighborhood and around the borough.

“I don’t know what it does for the neighborhood, but [my daughter] loves it, and now it’s like a tradition to come here and see it,” said Elizabeth Wilson, who comes by each year to see the “Halloween House.” “It’s nice to see at least someone cares about the holiday.”


For other families, Christmas or Thanksgiving may be the most special days of the year, but that isn’t the case for this real-life “Addams Family.”

Halloween is Kenniff’s favorite holiday. He usually dresses in all black with shades and his ringtone is the theme song from the horror-movie “Halloween.” When he was younger, he celebrated the holiday with his 10 siblings, and after his first year of decorating his house he continued each year to pass on the spirit of Halloween to his daughter, Skye.

Skye, 9, loves to watch horror movies such as the “Child’s Play” series and builds her own scary decorations. Her mother said it would be “cool” if she found a career in that field, such as being a director of make-up design for shows like “The Walking Dead.”

Even Skye’s grandmother looks forward to Halloween each year, because every Saturday a week before the holiday they throw a massive, backyard party for nearly 50 family members.

Basement- Family with Chucky


Many people just put spider webs and pumpkins outside their houses or apartments for Halloween, but Kenniff goes above and beyond because it makes him feel good.

“It’s therapeutic for me,” Kenniff said. “Some people take Prozac, I have Halloween.”

It takes him approximately two weeks to set up the “Halloween House,” putting up a few decorations each day. The transformation takes so long that he sometimes has started in September.

Although Kenniff has more than 100 decorations and figures, he can’t give an exact figure, because he lost count. And during the year the props, dolls, figures and lights are stored behind the house, after another two-week process of “breaking down.”

Kenniff spends a lot of money on Halloween, but he finds ways to cut costs as well. He estimated that his decoration collection is worth “thousands of dollars.” Some, such as one of the giant cats, which was $200, he bought more cheaply by waiting until after Halloween when stores slash prices. He also makes some of them himself.

He uses energy-efficient lights and only puts them on only for a couple hours a day as the special day draws near. His electric bill is only about $50 more, he said.

But what really kills him for Halloween is batteries, because many of the decorations and props need them. So, he said, he spends about $150 on batteries alone.

Finally, he buys hundreds of pieces of candy for the inevitable flock of children that will pass by his house for the holidays. But the money isn’t an issue for him, because just seeing the excited children enjoying Halloween with his house puts a smile on his face.

“It makes me feel like all this was worth it,” Kenniff said.


Even Kenniff’s family is amazed by his “Halloween House.”

His front yard is littered with dozens of creepy creatures, included the Headless Horseman, a Shrek doll, various moving witches, wizards and bloodied figures, and this year a ginormous, inflatable Frankenstein sits on the house along with two 20-foot black cats, blended all together with orange lighting.

It’s a terrifying sight for many children, but those who are easily spooked should stay away from the basement.

Kenniff’s basement is a bonafide haunted house. It’s dark and filled with dreadful screams from glowing ghosts, ghouls and goblins blanketed in spider webs and surrounded by recognizable figures such as Scream, Chucky, and Michael Myers from “Halloween,” which is his favorite prop.

One neighbor even suggested he started charging the hundreds of kids that line up to see it every year. But he keeps it open for free for everyone to enjoy.

“The year before last year, the line was so insane to go down there, I said, ‘You should charge a buck’ and he was like ‘I can’t do that,’” said Teresa Hinkler, who lives next door. “I mean hundreds of hundreds of people come and he’s got to be like a doorman, because he can only let so many people in at a time. So he really gives his time to Halloween day.”



Woodside celebrates 3rd Annual ‘Woofside’ Halloween Pet Parade

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Woodside on the Move

Tails were wagging this weekend in Woodside as dozens of four-legged members of the community took part in a spooktacular event.

Community organization Woodside on the Move celebrated its third annual “Woofside” Halloween Pet Parade on Saturday.

Dressed in costumes, the pets enjoyed a day filled with music, a parade with their owners, some also dressed up, and a costume contest.

Funniest costume went to a pooch dressed as a martini cocktail with three olives sticking out of a cone, a ballerina won best trick, a family of Ghostbusters won best matching pet and owner, and a Sons of Anarchy biker won best costume, according to Adrian Bordoni, executive director of Woodside on the Move.

Parade participants learned about programs and rescue options and won raffle prizes and vet services from Skillman Pets, Queens Animal Hospital, Heavenly Angels and the ASPCA Therapy program.

The special guest was Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who has helped allocate funding for the expanded Woodside Dog Run, Bordoni said.

The annual event received contributions from SUDS Mutts, Friends of Sherry Park Dog Run, and the Woodside Dog Run committee.

For more information on future events, contact abeltran@woodsideonthemove.org.



Ridgewood residents to host first ‘spooky bar crawl’

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

As Ridgewood adults grew out of the trick-or-treating phase they found another way to have some fun in the festive spirit of Halloween this year.

A spooky bar crawl around the neighborhood will be happening on Saturday, Oct. 25. The crawl, which was put together by Ridgewood Social in concert with some local groups and bars, will start at 7 p.m. and run through many of the popular bars in the neighborhood.

“We want people to come out in costume and have fun,” said Sarah Feldman, a Ridgewood resident and operator of Ridgewood Social. “We are really looking forward to it.”

The bar crawl will start in Brooklyn by the Bushwick/Ridgewood border at the bar Old Stanley’s. It will then make its way into Ridgewood as its next stop will be Paradise, on Woodward Avenue.

After that, the crawlers will make their way to Windjammer, Gottscheer Hall, Bleachers, Cozy Corner, Cream and finally end at Queens Tavern.


Along with the drinks, there will be contests, dancing and raffles.

To find out more, check out “Ridgewood Social” on Facebook.


Queens ‘Zombie Ride’ to encourage safe biking

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kidical Mass NYC

Wheels big and small will be going round and round this weekend through western Queens.

Advocacy organization Kidical Mass NYC will be hosting its third family bike ride and the first in Queens on Saturday, Oct. 25, through parts of Long Island City and Astoria.

The event, called “Zombie Ride,” will be a five-mile bike ride starting at the waterfront at Gantry Plaza State Park at the intersection of Center Boulevard and 47th Avenue.

The ride is open to intermediate-level bike riders or children ages 7 and up with good street-riding skills. Children in baby seats and on cargo bikes are also welcome to be a part of the event. 

“[We want to] make an opportunity to get kids to go around a city you walk, ride buses and drive in. It’s another way to get around,” said Hilda Cohen, one of the co-founders of Kidical Mass NYC.  “A lot of parents want to do this but are intimidated about it. It’s really a great way to see your city.”

The ride, which is named in the spirit of Halloween, will then continue through the Long Island City neighborhood and make its first stop at the rooftop garden Brooklyn Grange. After taking a rest stop at coffee shop COFFEED, the group will pass the Museum of the Moving Image and head back toward the waterfront to finish the ride at Socrates Sculpture Park, which will be hosting its Fall Festival. 

The young participants will also receive “spooky” treats such as zombie tattoos. 

“The name [of the event] has nothing to do with anything dangerous,” Cohen said. 

Kidical Mass NYC, which is the New York-based branch of the original Kidical Mass founded in Oregon, pays tribute to the national cycling event called Critical Mass.

Since starting in August, rides have taken place once a month in Brooklyn and Manhattan, bringing together about 40 participants, including adults and children. Now organizers have expanded the reach into Queens, hoping to attract residents from the other boroughs.

“Queens is the next big borough,” said Cristina Furlong of the organization Makes Queens Safer, who is helping Kidical Mass NYC organize the Queens event. “Queens is starting to get noticed.”

Members of the 108th and 114th precincts will also be in attendance on Saturday to provide extra security for the riders. 

“By being visible, I hope we influence some people that might be considering [cycling with their children] and show them that it’s safe,” Furlong said.

According to Cohen, although the event aims to show families that biking through their neighborhoods is a safe alternative to driving, the main goal of the day is to have fun. 

“We’re trying to make everything fun and exciting, which is exactly what biking is and it shouldn’t be something dangerous,” Cohen said. “This is just a means to enjoy our city with our kids.”

The “Zombie Ride” will begin at 10 a.m., with riders beginning to gather at 9:30 a.m. Cohen encourages those interested in participating to RSVP via the group’s Facebook page in order for every participant to receive their Halloween treats. Helmets are required for children 13 years old and under by law, and are recommended for everyone else, according to organizers. 

For more information visit www.facebook.com/kidicalmassnyc.


Pumpkins and more at LIC Flea

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SHB_p070.pdf - Adobe Acrobat

It’s time to celebrate Halloween at the LIC Flea & Food.

This weekend, attend the Long Island City market in your Halloween costume to get you a discount of $2 off your first beer. And that’s not all. The market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, is also hosting special events for children with prizes.

On Saturday, Oct. 18, adults can have a photograph taken of their children in their Halloween costumes for a chance to win exciting prizes. The contest is open for a limited time of two hours, starting at 10 a.m. On Sunday, Oct. 19, the competition is open only for costumed pets. Visitors who get their costumed pet photographed will be eligible for a prize. This contest is only open for a limited time, between noon and 3 p.m.

The main attraction, however, is a special pumpkin patch featuring Halloween pumpkins straight from the farm.

The regular vendors selling food, antiques, art, fashion and collectibles will also be at the market.

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will run through the end of the year. The LIC Flea Beer Garden is open during the hours of operation of the flea market.

For more information visit www.licflea.com or www.facebook.com/licflea.


Street Talk: What are you going to be for Halloween?

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

photovisi-download (3)



“A Mummy.”
Benjamin Friedman (left)

“A butcher with a bloody scar, along the lines of Sweeney Todd.”
Tracy Friedman


“Origami Yoda.”
Daniel Aguasaco

“Elsa from ‘Frozen.’”
Carol Aguasaco


Michaela Turck


“I’m going to wear a clown mask.”
Dylan Drebaul


“A clown.”
Julia Blenzig


Iman Zara


“Anna from ‘Frozen.’”
Angela Perez


“A vampire.”
Jasmilkis Santos


Whitestone church turns to ‘Nosferatu’ for the sake of organ pipes

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Churches and vampires seldom work together. But a Whitestone church will be taking a page out of The Book of Vampires to resurrect a century-old presence.

The Rev. Brian Blayer and music director Nick Myers want to raise money to fix the Grace Episcopal Church’s organ with a showing of the 1922 silent movie “Nosferatu” on Halloween night.

“I really like the film,” said Myers, who made the selection.  He explained that it worked well for October and it was “very Halloweeny.”

The organ itself is older than the movie and the pipe system dates back to 1903. The 1,000 organ pipes are both a blessing and a curse, according to Blayer, and many of the pipes are showing their age.

“We’re getting it to play as best we can but a lot of the pipes are bent,” he said. “Everything we’ve done has been like putting bubble gum and tape on it but now we need a major overhaul.”

Myers, who has been with the church for three years and will be playing a live soundtrack to the movie with the organ, said he’s tried to make as many repairs himself but the major problems require a professional job.

"Nosferatu" screen capture via Wikimedia Commons

“Nosferatu” screen capture via Wikimedia Commons

The estimate to fix everything comes out to $150,000 but Myers isn’t looking to raise that much money just yet. His immediate goal is to raise $30,000 for the more important repairs. After that, they plan on raising the money incrementally.

“There’s been no love to this organ for 60 years and so it’s going to take a while to get everything fixed but it will happen over time,” he said. “ We want to preserve the history of Grace and do it right so that it lasts another 100 years.

Myers wants to hold viewings of old movies regularly and begin to develop the organ’s capability, so it can be part of music festivals that the church holds.

“We want to build up the arts in Whitestone,” Myers said, “and it starts with this organ.”


LIC film series to combine curated films and free local beer

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


A new film series is looking to bring the borough monthly fun evenings with curated classic films and free drinks.

The inaugural event for the series called Cinema Under the Influence will kick off on Oct. 11 with a showing of the films “Blue Velvet” and “Halloween” at the Chain Theatre located at 21-28 45th Rd. in Long Island City.

Cinema Under the Influence, which curators plan to continue monthly, will include a double feature with free beer provided by Queens Brewery. The idea came after such events were seen popping up around the city, yet none could be found in Queens, according to Jon Hogan, one of the curators.

“I’d like [people] to come realizing that programs like this can happen in Queens and Queens is fertile ground with something like this,” Hogan said.

Hogan and the other curators, Brian Essman, Benham Jones and Edwin Adrian Nieves, get together and pick films that “speak to each other,” whether they share same themes, focus or other qualities.

For the inaugural program, which begins at 7 p.m. with a reception, the curators picked “Blue Velvet” and “Halloween,” because both of the films show what is scary about the suburbs and are a good lead into the Halloween season, according to Hogan.

Image courtesy of Kate Melvin

Image courtesy of Kate Melvin

Cinema fans who come to the Oct. 11 event will also receive a program featuring essays comparing and investigating both films. The essays are written by Nieves, who writes a film blog called “A-BitterSweet-Life,” Dr. Kendall Phillips of Syracuse University, and others.

“We hope to continue doing this for the community because it seems like something that people have been wanting for a while,” Hogan said. “The seeds are there and we would like to pursue that.”

The screening of “Blue Velvet” will begin at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a half-hour intermission featuring a raffle with prizes donated from local businesses. The night will end with “Halloween.”

The details for the November event of Cinema Under the Influence will be announced on Oct. 11.

Tickets, which include three beers, are $15 and are available at the door the day of the event or online here.


Douglaston Deli owner passing down legacy to son

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Matt Walters isn’t completely sure when he realized he wanted to own his father’s deli.

It could have been when he was 8 years old and cleaned out his parents’ kitchen cabinet so he could pretend to have his own store in the basement.

There was also a time, at one and a half years old, when his mother dressed him up for Halloween with a white shirt and black apron, like his dad’s deli uniform.

But one thing’s for certain, although he has two brothers, it was always decided that he would succeed his dad.

“There was never a question of who was going to take over either,” Matt said. “They knew I wanted to do it and they went their separate ways.”

He started working in the 42-year-old Douglaston Deli on Douglaston Parkway near Northern Boulevard 19 years ago, and will soon take it over from his dad, Richard, who plans to retire this year.

Matt has been learning how to operate the deli since he began his job there at 15 years old. Today the combo still works side by side at certain times of the day.

They don’t have defined roles, but the pair works in tandem to make sure customers receive their orders as soon as possible. With a certain quickness that comes with experience in the food industry, one takes orders, the other preps the food, which includes classic roast beef sandwiches and German style potato salad made fresh every day.

Photo courtesy Matt Walters 

While the neighborhood may have transformed in various ways since the deli opened, the store hasn’t changed much, and therefore holds a good relationship with the community. Matt plans to run the deli the same way as his dad.

“When people come in here they’re not a number,” Matt said. “We know them by first name and we’ve built up a lot of great relationships with customers around the area.”

Matt has no idea what’s in store for the next 42 years, but hopes the deli can stay in the family.

“I have a daughter that’s a year and a half old,” Matt said. “She might be the next owner of the deli.”



Celebrate Halloween with your pet at LIC Flea

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy Spoil My Bitch

Our four-legged friends are coming to LIC Flea & Food for an early Halloween.

With just two weeks before the spooktacular holiday, LIC Flea is hosting a pet costume contest this weekend. On Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20 visitors will be able to bring their four-legged furry friends to participate in the first pet costume Halloween contest.

If you don’t have a costume for your pet, LIC Flea vendor Spoil My Bitch mobile pet boutique will have a selection of costumes for small to big dogs you can purchase. Options include a fantasy dragon, duck, sailor, basketball player, sailor and even a cow.

“I’m so excited,” said Spoil My Bitch owner Roger Quesada, whose two-year-old Miniature Schnauzer Nina will also be at LIC Flea in costume. “When I started this business I wanted to sell cute outfits and I didn’t know how big the costume business was for dogs. It will be really fun to see people coming to the event and dressing up the animals.”

Kiki Pet Photography will be taking photos of all the participants and a winner will be awarded on Saturday, October 26. Prizes include LIC Flea & Food Bucks, a gift card from Ricky’s, a free 20-day potty break packaged from LIC Dogwalk, a free dog consult from Pooch Pals, a free office exam from City Vet and a discounted photo session with Kiki Pet Photography. The contest is also sponsored by LIC Doghouse and TF Cornerstone.

Visitors will also be able to donate clean dog items and unopened food and treats to “Rock & Rawhide” for dogs in need. Those people looking for a furry friend to call their own will also have the chance to adopt a pet through the pet adoption agency Zani’s Furry Friends, which will be at LIC Flea.

Even with the cute pets in costumes, people will not be left behind. The following weekend on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27 visitors of all ages are welcomed to come in their best Halloween costume and have their pictures taken. Winners will be selected to get LIC Flea & Food Bucks and the chance to be published in The Queens Courier.

You can sign up for the contest online or at the LIC Flea, located at 5-25 46th Avenue in Long Island City.



Queens chocolate company gets $250K grant for Sandy recovery

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence Cullen

Normally, the staff of Madelaine Chocolate makes Valentine’s Day sweet for countless couples.

But this year, because of Sandy, their holiday was sweetened thanks to National Grid.

The gas company presented owners at Madelaine with a check for $250,000 on Tuesday, February 12 to help the confectioners continue their recovery. The money will go toward getting at least one leg of the Madelaine factory producing chocolate again, said co-owner Jorge Farber, and the staff back to work for Halloween candy.

“It’s a beginning for a long, long road that is ahead of us,” Farber said. “This grant from National Grid is the first substantial outside grant and resources we have received. It’s a very concrete first step because it helps us rebuild one of our 14 molding lines that produce chocolate.”

This is the first of several grants National Grid will give to companies in its floodzone that suffered severe damage from the storm. National Grid president Ken Daly said the power company has a $30 million fund, with roughly 100 companies applied. The amount of grant money will vary based on the company, he added.

Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said the grant would be a boost to Madelaine and the workers who live nearby.

“It’s going to help re-employ some of the workers who have been out of work since October, and probably will be out of work through the summer,” Friedman said. “And it’s going to help the community of Rockaway because most of their workers come from the local area.”

Madelaine, the largest Queens small business with about 450 employees, was the first on National Grid’s list, Daly said, because of the long working relationship between the two. The executives at National Grid are committed to getting Madelaine back and making candy as soon as possible.

“[For] many, many years, they’ve been supporting us as a company,” Daly said. “Today, it’s really our opportunity to return that support and help them get back up and running.”

Farber said the factory had already lost two seasons — Valentine’s Day and Easter — of candy production because of the damage from the storm. The combined cost of the damage and cost of doing business is still unestimated, he said.

The first of the eight kitchens, however, has been almost restored. That kitchen had a staff of 42 and produced about 46,000 of 100,000 pounds of chocolate per day.

The grant from National Grid was the first step in getting the staff back to work, as the company awaits potential loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. As more loans and donations come in, the staff can begin making chocolate goodies for distribution.

“We cannot lose another season,” Farber said. “We need to be back by Halloween.”




Halloween safety tips

| bdoda@queenscourier.com


While having fun is a prerequisite for any Halloween, safety should never take a backseat.

With the devastation the city suffered during Hurricane Sandy, many will be forced to forego trick-or-treating, but for those that do there are several safety tips that should be followed.

Con Ed offered some tips post-Sandy safety tips:

  • Avoid any downed electrical wires or equipment. Treat any wire that’s in the street or on lawns as if it’s carrying electricity, which can carry painful shocks. They also should avoid any puddles or standing water, which can conduct electricity. More than 5,000 wires fell during the storm
  • Be careful crossing streets, especially at corners with no red lights. Hold on to younger brothers, sisters and friends when crossing the street. Be sure to look both ways.
  • Carry a flashlight when walking even if the street is lighted, but definitely if Hurricane Sandy snuffed out street lights.
  • Children are urged to be careful near Con Edison work sites in their neighborhoods.

In the most recent data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an average of 20 pedestrians were killed each Halloween from 2005-2009, a 61 percent increase from the number of pedestrian deaths on any given day.

With Halloween falling on a school day, many children will be out trick-or-treating for candy after sunset. Drivers should be aware of their surroundings and be patient with the droves of trick-or-treaters crossing city streets. Motorist vigilance is extra important because many children will not cross at crosswalks and “dart out” in front of cars.

New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital provided tips on maximizing Halloween fun while minimizing potential danger:

• Always go trick-or-treating with your children. Do not let your children enter a stranger’s home or apartment.

• Do not let your children eat any candy before they get home and you examine it.

• Make sure your children throw away any unwrapped foods or candies.

• If your children are old enough to trick-or-treat by themselves, have them go in groups.

• If your children are trick-or-treating at night, make sure their costumes are bright in color, or have them wear reflectors.

• If your children are walking on dark streets, have them take a flashlight. If they are walking in apartment buildings, accompany them inside.

For the tech savvy, AT&T has compiled a list of tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween:

• Make sure cell phones are fully charged before leaving the house.

• Pre-program contact information of parents and emergency numbers into your child’s phone and teach them how to access the numbers.

• Establish boundaries. Childrens’ trick-or-treating routes should be in familiar areas in the community. Many services, including AT&T’s FamilyMap Viewer, allow parents to locate a child’s exact whereabouts from their phone or computer.

• Set up periodic alarms with Halloween-themed tones as a reminder for trick-or-treaters to text or call home to check in between candy collecting stops.

And the most important tip to remember…have fun.

DIY Halloween costumes that won’t spook your budget

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


(BPT) – As the leaves turn, children of all ages begin their quest for this year’s “it” Halloween costume. If you’re like most parents, this typically requires thinking ahead and spending an average of $26.52 for each costume, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 Halloween Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey.

The same study says seven out of 10 Americans planned to celebrate Halloween, and $1 billion was spent on children’s costumes alone. With many families continuing to feel the economic pinch, an average of 18.9 percent of consumers will make costumes instead of purchasing them this year. What to do if you’re not an expert sewer or crafter? Here are some DIY ideas from the experts.

Milva Di Lorenzo, Fashion Design faculty for Miami International University of Art & Design, suggests, “Start by doing research online – if you’re even a little crafty, there are many unique, fun costumes you can create with little money and no sewing.”

She recommends the following websites:


www.marthastewart.com (click on Holidays link on left)


Kate Campbell, fashion coordinator at The Art Institute of Tampa, a branch of Miami International University of Art & Design, agrees. She also advises, “Get your child involved in creating the costume. Look at ideas and decide on a budget together. This ensures your child is excited about their costume, especially when their friends tout the ones from the store.”

For more inspiration, look at the quick costume ideas below from our experts.

Robot Costume

Needed: Gray sweat suit, one long aluminum dryer hose, two rectangular disposable foil pans, baseball cap, foil, colored markers, ribbon.

1. The foundation is a long-sleeve sweatshirt or undershirt and grey sweatpants.

2. Cut aluminum dryer hose in four parts. Place one on each leg over sweatpants for the legs. For arms, use ribbon attached to the hose with a stapler to connect the other two pieces across the child’s back. Put on like a coat, one arm at a time.

3. Attach the two disposable foil pans with ribbons close to the corners, making sure there’s enough space so it can go over the child’s head like a sandwich sign.

4. Have your child use markers to create buttons and knobs on the foil pans.

5. Wrap a baseball cap with foil and use as the robot’s hat.

Butterfly Costume

Needed: long-sleeved T-shirt and leggings in pink or any favorite color, poster or foam board in matching color, ribbon, tissue paper in coordinating colors, assorted embellishments, such as beads, glitter pens, rhinestones, hair band, pipe cleaners, hot glue gun or other adhesive.

1. The foundation is the T-shirt and leggings.

2. Draw (find an easy stencil online or free-hand it) large wing shapes on poster or foam board and cut them out.

3. Involve your child in decorating the wings. Make sure you plan the design before you start gluing.

4. Use ribbon to tie the wings together and to create backpack-style straps to hold them on the child’s shoulders.

5. Use additional poster board to create a belt to go around your child’s waist. Cut tissue paper in triangles and staple to the belt, overlapping at the top and with pointed ends down, to create a skirt. Decorate the head band and attach the pipe cleaners.

With a little imagination and patience, you can create unique Halloween costumes with your child and have fun, too! Finally, remember to take plenty of pictures!

New York cracking down on Halloween DWIs

| brennison@queenscourier.com

In an effort to keep the streets safe during the days leading up to Halloween, New York announced a statewide DWI crackdown.

Between October 26-31, all the counties within New York will be setting up sobriety checkpoints a saturation patrol to deter and catch drunk drivers.

Motorists are reminded that driving with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher will put them over the limit.

STOP-DWI, or “Special Traffic Options Program for Driving While Intoxicated,” is a comprehensive and financially self-sustaining highway safety program.