Tags Posts tagged with "Halloween"


Mount Sinai’s student government members featured the 12th edition of their “Safe Trick or Treat” celebration on Saturday, Oct. 29, drawing over 1,100 trick-or-treaters, according to student government faculty advisor Roger Cardo. 

Admission was free, although donations were welcomed to cover the cost of all the candy and refreshments. 

Non-perishable food items were collected to benefit local food kitchens. The students set up the night before and were in at 7 a.m. to finish setting up more than a dozen rooms, which included the Haunted Hallway, Best Buddies, the Ocean Bowl and the Balloon Room, to name a few. 

Mr. Cardo credited the large turnout to word of mouth, the fliers that were circulated at the middle school, along with the efforts of more than 30 student government members, and seniors Destina Erden, Amanda Audia, Kate Rubino and Amr Ali. Fun was had by all. 

— Photos by Bill Landon


Philip Doesschate captured this rare sighting of a coven of witches making a quick getaway on paddleboards and kayaks in Stony Brook Harbor on Oct. 29 after they misplaced their brooms. The well-received event was actually Stony Brook Harbor Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals’ first annual Witches Sunset Paddle in celebration of Halloween.

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Photo from Family Features

Costumes and candy make Halloween a highly anticipated event for children and adults alike, but the holiday can be particularly spooky for pets. Some of the same things that bring humans joy on All Hallows Eve can lead to poisoning, stress or anxiety, which may cause four-legged family members to run away or react aggressively.

To help ensure Halloween is fun for every member of the family, take note of these safety tips
from the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals, which has more than 1,000 locations across North America that cared for more than 4.5 million pets last year. Talk to your veterinarian if you need assistance dealing with pet anxiety.

Create a safe space for your pet at home. If your neighborhood is particularly busy on Halloween and the sidewalks are overflowing with exuberant trick-or-treaters, it may be best to leave your pet at home. Pets can be thrown off by extra people on the street or at the door in frightening costumes, which could lead to uncommon reactions such as growling or biting if they feel threatened. Even if your pets are mellow and enjoy greeting guests, consider keeping them inside as you sit by yourself near the door or outside to greet trick-or-treaters as they knock or ring the doorbell. Otherwise, consider keeping your pet in a room away from the frenzy with a TV, radio or white noise machine to dull the sounds.

Be cautious when taking your pet trick-or-treating. If you do decide to venture out with your pet, make sure he or she is always close to you on a secure leash (avoid retractable leashes). Observe your surroundings and assess people – especially friendly, excited children – approaching you and your pet, because physical contact from strangers in costumes may instigate a fearful or aggressive reaction.

Consider skipping the costume. It’s best not to dress up your pets for Halloween, but if you choose to, it’s important for pets to wear safe, comfortable costumes. They should be loose enough to provide freedom of movement but not loose enough to be a tripping hazard. On the other hand, costumes that are too tight can restrict breathing and make movement difficult. Make sure your pet’s costume does not interfere with vision or hearing. Also beware of small parts, like buttons or loose strings, that could be chewed off and swallowed.

Keep treats away from pets. Resist the temptation to share Halloween candy with your pet. In fact, keep all candy safely out of reach. Chocolate, candy or gum artificially sweetened with xylitol can be dangerous for dogs. Plus, cellophane or foil wrappers can cause problems if swallowed. Even natural treats like caramel apples should be off limits as eating items not normally on the menu can cause upset stomachs, GI blockages or pancreatitis.

Decorate with safety in mind. Festive decorations help set the mood, but they can also create health risks for your pet. While non-toxic, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds can upset stomachs, especially when consumed in large quantities. Lit candles in Jack-O-Lanterns may pose fire hazards if toppled by a curious four-legged friend. Decorative lights can brighten your porch but should be kept out of your pet’s reach as nibbling on electrical cords can cause electrocution.

— Family Features

A scene from 'A Killer Day'

Halloween comes around a week early to the Playhouse at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 270 Main St., Northport as it plays host to the 13th Annual Northport One-Act Play Festival – “Halloween Edition.” The new plays that make up this year’s festival all share something in common. Each embraces the strange, sometimes scary aspects associated with All Hallows Eve, whether as a comedy or drama.

The plays featured in the festival will be performed twice each, once as a matinee and once in the evening at the theater They will be brought to the stage by directors and actors from the Long Island theater community.

Program 1 will be presented on Saturday, October 22nd at 3:00 p.m.

Program 2 will be performed on Saturday, October 22nd at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 23rd at 3:00 p.m.


Program 1Saturday, October 22nd at 3:00 p.m.
Mortal Lives by Seth Freeman

Date Night in Roissy by Les Abromovitz

Fall of the House of Hasenpheffer by Michael Casano

Grave’s Anatomy by Rich Rubin

Program 2: Saturday, October 22nd at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 23rd at 3:00 p.m.

Meeting Acute by Chuck Smith

The Psychic by John Passadino

Bite Me by Pete Mergel

Margo by Peter Scarpinato

A Killer Day by Joe Bulvi

Admission is $25 to each of the four festival performances. You can reserve tickets for the festival (recommended) at www.northportplays.com or call (631) 223-8053.


Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role as Laurie Strode for the final time. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

After nearly forty-five years and thirteen installments, the Halloween franchise comes to a close. Halloween Ends is the third in David Gordon Green’s reboot that began with Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills (2021). John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween remains one of the finest horror films of the modern era, while the ensuing sequels and revisions produced diminishing returns.

A scene from ‘Halloween Ends’ Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Halloween Ends opens in 2019, three years after Halloween Kills, culminating with Michael Myers slaughtering an entire mob. Twenty-one-year-old Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell) accidentally causes the death of his rambunctious babysitting charge, Jeremy Allen (Jaxon Goldenberg), witnessed by the boy’s parents (Candice Rose and Jack William Marshall) as they return from an office party. It is an effective moment, one that is truly horrifying.

The film jumps forward three years to the present. A seemingly healed Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) works on her memoir while facing the town’s anger; residents of Haddonfield hold Laurie responsible for Michael Meyer’s rampage. Laurie’s orphaned granddaughter Allyson Nelson (Andi Matichak), shares her new house. Considering the occurrences of four years prior, she also seems rather well-adjusted.

In a chance meeting, Laurie encounters Corey, who has just been terrorized by a quartet of high school band students. Corey, like Laurie, is a pariah in the community. While acquitted, he remains an outcast, replacing the seemingly absent Michael Myers. Corey is the new boogeyman. To treat his injured hand, Laurie takes Corey to the medical office where Allyson works, setting up the pair—a choice she quickly regrets. Allyson is immediately attracted to the shy, awkward Corey, and they become involved. 

After Jeremy’s mother chases Corey from a Halloween party, the bullies throw him off a bridge. He awakes in a sewer, confronted by Michael Myers (played by Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney). In a new twist, the killer sees Corey’s history in the boy’s eyes and lets him go. Immediately following, while defending himself, Corey accidentally kills a homeless man. With this encounter, the film takes a new path, tracking Corey as he assumes the mantle of Michael Myers. 

The disastrous Halloween Kills was a pointless movie, a meandering bloodbath created as a tensionless placeholder between the first and final chapters. Halloween Ends attempts to cover bigger and deeper territory. The film meditates on trauma and healing in individuals and the community. Discussions of evil entwine, questioning whether it is inherent or a result of circumstances—the nature versus nurture argument. Unusually, Michael functions as symbol and slasher. 

While Halloween Kills focused on mob mentality and the resulting violence, Halloween Ends offers a subtler perspective. Laurie refers to Haddonfield as “a plague of grief, of blame, of paranoia.” Pervading is the sense that the town must always have scapegoats—in this case, Corey, the “psychopath babysitter,” and Laurie, “the freak show.” Laurie parses the evil without—the threat to the tribe—and the malevolence within—likened to a core sickness. Evil does not die; it changes shape. Strangely—and out of place—thoughts of forgiveness are also introduced late in the action. These heady concepts stir a more interesting mix, but while raising many theories, most remain muddled and inconclusive. 

Like the previous film, the dialogue is stiff, declarative, and occasionally cringeworthy. A character states: “If I can’t have her, no one will.” Among the most puzzling pieces: Why would a devastated town continue to celebrate Halloween? Also, drawing the connection between Michael and Corey becomes tenuous. Part of Michael’s gestalt is the random and passionless kills. Corey murders predominantly for revenge, harkening to films such as Carrie or even Willard, where a bullied victim seeks retribution. Corey even has the caricature battle-axe mother (Joanne Baron), both smothering and abusive. However, clever references to the first film pepper the movie, particularly in Laurie and Michael’s final encounter.

Curtis, who was sidelined in the second film, spending much of the action in a hospital bed, takes center. Making her seventh appearance in the franchise, she presents both a grand and intimate farewell performance. Curtis owns her scenes with a strength not seen since the original. Matichak matches her as the self-actualized Allyson. Campbell’s burgeoning monster hits most of the right notes, but the predictability stymies surprise.

Thinly drawn characters driving the action populate the rest of the film. Will Patton’s Deputy Frank Hawkins is a bit too “aw-shucks” in his enamorment of Laurie. Jesse C. Boyd, who plays Allyson’s cop ex-boyfriend, is introduced to be easily dispatched. Keraun Harris, as disc jockey Willy the Kid, wandered in from a different film of a different era.

Halloween Ends delivers the promised finish. The trilogy concludes with a communal action that leaves little doubt, with no cheat teased in the credits suggesting a return. But horror movies have a way of reinventing their mythologies as needed. Is Michael Myers truly gone? That remains to be seen. To cite the misquoted Mark Twain, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” 

Rated R, the film is now playing in local theaters and streaming on Peacock.

Black Magic Cake. Photo from METR)

Sweet treats are on display come Halloween. People hosting Halloween parties or bringing items over to others’ homes for the holiday may need to scare up some new ideas for dessert.

Chocolate never goes out of style and is right at home on Halloween. This recipe for “Black Magic Cake,” courtesy of The Food Network, is decadently rich. Don’t let all that chocolate frighten you. Drizzle as much melted marshmallow as necessary to brighten up the flavor. Turn into a mummy face or transform the top of the cake into a spiderweb instead.

Black Magic Cake

YIELD: 8 to 10 servings


2⁄3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing the baking pans

1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (or any cocoa powder if on hand)

1 cup boiling water

2 cups granulated sugar

1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour (see cook’s note)

2  teaspoons baking powder

1   teaspoon fine salt

1  cup whole milk

2   large eggs

1  tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Filling and Frosting:

1 1⁄2  cups heavy cream

3⁄4  cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

8  ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch fine salt

2  tablespoons unsalted butter

1⁄3  cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


2  cups mini marshmallows (about 4 ounces)

Cooking spray

1   or more candy spiders or two candy eyes for decorating


For the cake: Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment and crease the parchment and the sides of the pans with oil.

Stir together the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl and let sit to bloom for 5 minutes (this step intensifies the chocolate flavor in the cake).

Whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the bloomed cocoa, oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour the cocoa mixture into the sugar mixture and stir until smooth (the batter will be thin). Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake until the cakes bounce back when pressed in the middle and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on a rack.

For the filling and frosting: Heat the cream in a double boiler over low heat, whisking occasionally, until it begins to steam. Whisk in the cocoa powder, chocolate, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the butter until melted. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Let the frosting cool completely.

To assemble: Put one cake, bottom-side up, on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread about 1 cup of the frosting over the top but not all the way down the side. Top with the other cake, bottom-side up, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

For the spider web or mummy decoration: Microwave the marshmallows in a microwave-safe medium bowl until they swell and are soft enough to stir, about 1 minute. Let sit a few minutes until cool enough to touch. Spray your hands with cooking spray. For a spider web, pick up a tablespoon-sized blob of the melted marshmallow and stretch it over and around the cake; repeat so that the strings of marshmallow crisscross one another in many directions. Continue until you have what looks like a spiderweb. For a mummy, stretch the marshmallow so that all the strings on the top of the cake run in the same direction, leaving a small gap between strings for the mummy’s eyes to peak out. Garnish with a candy spider or several candy spiders for the web cake or candy eyes for the mummy cake.

Cook’s note: The candy directions are a nice touch, but the cake will be fun and delicious without them as well. When measuring flour, spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess.

Semi-homemade tip: Purchase a premade chocolate cake and use the decoration to make the mummy or spiderweb only.

By Heidi Sutton

Halloween is such a fun time of year and celebrations have come early, with many fun and spooky events happening this weekend in addition to next weekend. Here are 31 Halloween events on the North Shore to enjoy.


Storytime Under the Stars

See your favorite Halloween storybooks come to life during Storytime Under the Stars at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Planetarium, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport on Oct. 30 from 6 to 7 p.m. Children are invited to wear their Halloween costumes and bring their favorite stuffed animal. $8 per person. www.vanderbiltmuseum.org. 

Spooky Science Lab

The Vanderbilt Museum Education Department, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport will offer Mr. Vanderbilt’s Spooky Science Lab, a program for children in grades 2 to 5 on Oct. 21 from 4 to 6 p.m. Take part in a scavenger hunt in the collections galleries and then create jars that can be used in any spooky Halloween display. Cost is $20 per child. Register at www.vanderbiltmuseum.org. 631-854-5552.

Cold Spring Harbor

Harbor Haunts Walking Tour 

Explore Cold Spring Harbor’s ghostly side with fascinating tales of mishaps and historic hauntings on Main Street, courtesy of the Whaling Museum, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor, on Oct. 21 and 28 at 6 p.m., Oct. 22 and 29 at 4:30 and 6 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 4:30 p.m. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Held rain or shine. Tickets are ​$12 adults, $8 children. 631-367-3418, www.cshwhalingmuseum.org.

Haunted Hatchery

Calling all ghosts and goblins, spiders and bones … Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor will host a Halloween event on Oct. 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. Families are welcome to join them for a not-so-scary Haunted Hatchery. Trick-or-Treat your way through their outdoor grounds. Admission fee is $7 adults, $6 seniors, $5 children ages 3 to 12. 516-692-6768, www.cshfishhatchery.org

Haunted Boo-Museum Festival

Join the Whaling Museum, 301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor for its spookiest event of the year, with fun activities for all ages, on Oct. 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Go on a spooky-not-scary walk through as museum exhibit coming to life; have your fortune read; listen to ghost stories; and visit Dr. Gellerman’s Spooktacular Zoo with live native spooky wildlife found on Long Island. Enjoy tons of Halloween crafts and activities in the workshop including mixing up your own potion, creating a spider hat, wrapping a mummy whale, designing a mask, and candle-dipping to create a homemade candle and see what’s sticky and gooey at a Spooky Touch Table. Tickets in advance are $10 children, $5 adults; $15 children, $10 adults at the door. 631-367-3418, www.cshwhalingmuseum.org


Trick or Treat Trail

Join the Farmingville Historical Society on Oct. 29 for a Trick or Treat Trail at Farmingville Hills County Park, 503 Horseblock Road, Farmingville from noon to 3 p.m. Come in costume and trick or treat along a trail while learning about the history of candy. Fill your bag with real, full-size candy treats. The entry fee is $12 per trick or treater. Parents are welcome to escort their children without paying. Please note this is not a haunted trail. Rain date is Oct. 30. All Trick or Treaters must pre-register at www.farmingvillehistoricalsociety.org.

Dark Night Halloween World

Long Island Community Hospital Amphitheater, 1 Ski Run Lane, Farmingville hosts the 2nd annual Dark Night Halloween World, an outdoor extravaganza combining moderate scares with comedy that at the same time celebrates the nostalgia of vintage haunted trails through a post-modern twist on inspired characters from pop culture and horror movies of the 1990s, on Oct. 21, 22, 23, 27 to 31 from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person, $10 children 12 and under, $35 VIP front of the line. www.DarkNightLI.com


All Hallows Tour

Huntington Town Hall, 100 Main St., Huntington hosts an All Hallows tour at the Town Clerk’s archives October 24 to 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. The Halloween event will feature  a guided tour exploring Huntington’s haunted history with live interpretations of stories taken out of the archives vault. Free. 631-351-3035.

Trick or Treat at the Heckscher

Families are invited to celebrate Halloween at the Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington on Oct. 27 to Oct. 30 from noon to 5 p.m. Create a spooktacular art activity, make a haunted Digital Action painting, and take home a festive treat! 631-380-3230, www.heckscher.org

Halloween Costume Parade

The annual Downtown “Hauntington” Village Halloween Costume Parade returns to the Town of Huntington on Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. Sponsored by Town of Huntington, Councilwoman Joan Cergol, Dr. Dave Bennardo, and the Huntington Village BID. Line-up at the Huntington Post Office, 55 Gerard St., Huntington for a parade through Huntington followed by trick or treating at designated village merchants. Call 631-351-3173 or 631-351-3085.

Lake Grove

Halloween at Smith Haven Mall 

Join the Smith Haven Mall, Moriches Road, Lake Grove for a spooktacular, fun trick-or-treating for all the little ghouls and goblins on Oct. 31 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (while supplies last*) If you want to know what retailers and restaurants may have tricks or treats for the little ones on Halloween, keep and eye out for the pumpkin in their windows. 631-724-1433

Miller Place

Spooky Lantern Walking Tour

The Miller Place Mount Sinai Historical Society presents its annual Spooky Lantern Tour, a not-too-scary walking tour of the haunted history of Miller Place, on  Oct. 21, 22, 28 & 29 at 5:30 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 7 p.m. Walk the Miller Place Historic District with a guide from the MPMS Historical Society who will regale you with all the spooky stories surrounding this pre-Revolutionary War town. Bring a lantern or flashlight and wear comfortable shoes. For ages 10 and up. Tickets are $15 per person. www.mpmshistoricalsociety.eventbrite.com.

Mount Sinai

Heritage Halloween Fest

The North Shore Youth Council presents a Halloween Fest at the Heritage Center, 633 Mount Sinai Coram Road, Mt. Sinai on Oct. 29 from noon to 3 p.m. Enjoy pumpkin picking and decorating, a spooky walk scavenger hunt, costume parade, a goodie bag, dance party and more! Registration is $15 per child 12 and under. Parents and guardians are not required to register. Advance registration only at www.eventbrite.com.


Halloween Pet Parade

The Nesconset Chamber of Commerce and Jennifer O’Brien of State Farm hosts a Halloween Pet Parade fundraiser for the Smithtown Children’s Foundation at the Nesconset Gazebo, across from Nesconset Plaza, 127 Smithtown Boulevard, Nesconset on Oct.  29 at 11 a.m. Come in costume and trick-or-treat, enjoy ice cream, raffles, music, pet costume contest, vendors and more. 631-724-2543, www.nesconsetchamber.com.


Halloween Hayride

The Village of Northport will host its annual Halloween Hayride in Northport Village Park on Oct. 30 from noon to 4 p.m. with hayrides, pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting, live music, petting zoo, costume contest & refreshments. Fun for the whole family! $5 per person. Call 631-754-3905.

Halloween Magic Show

Join the Northport Historical Society, 215 Main St., Northport for a dazzling Halloween Magic Show for all ages with magician Todd Harris on Oct. 30 from 5 to 6 p.m. Cost is $5 per person. Register at www.northporthistorical.org.

Port Jefferson
FADE TO BLACK Catch the final performance of Theatre Three’s ‘A Kooky Spooky Halloween’ on Oct. 22. Photo by Peter Lanscombe/Theatre Three Productions, Inc.

‘A Kooky Spooky Halloween’

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents A Kooky Spooky Halloween, a merry musical about a ghost who’s afraid of the dark, on Oct. 22 at 11 a.m. Recently graduated spirit Abner Perkins is assigned to the Aberdeen Boarding House — known for its spectral sightings and terrific toast. Here, Abner finds himself cast into a company of its wacky residents. When his secret is revealed, he is forced to leave his haunted home and set-off on a quest with his newly found friends. All tickets are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

Harvest Fest

The Village of Port Jefferson hosts its annual Harvest Fest throughout the village on Oct. 22 from noon to 5 p.m. with live music, children’s activities, costumed dog parade, pumpkin carving, chowder crawl (fee) and much more. Rain date is Oct. 23. 631-473-4724, portjeff.com

Port Jefferson Station

Halloween Spooktacular

In coordination with The School of Rock, the Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Chamber of Commerce hosts a Halloween Spooktacular event at the chamber train car, corner of Nesconset Highway and Route 112, Port Jefferson Station on Oct. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. (Enter on Rose Ave off Canal Road). Enjoy live music, trick or treating, pumpkin painting, vendors and a game of cornhole. Free. 631-821-1313

St. James

Deepwells Haunted Mansion

Just in time for Halloween, the Deepwells Farm Historical Society transforms the historic Deepwells Mansion, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James into Deepwells Sanitarium, Home for the Criminally Insane on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29 from 7 to 10 p.m. Featuring 16 rooms of horror, wooded trail of terror, food vendors, photo-ops and more. Advance tickets are $20 per person, $30 at the door. 631-862-2808, www.deepwellshauntedmansion.com


Spirits Cemetery Tour

Join the Three Village Historical Society for its annual Spirits Cemetery Tour at the Setauket Presbyterian and Caroline of Brookhaven churches on Oct. 22 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tours, which last 1 1/2 hours, leave from the Setauket Presbyterian Church, 5 Caroline Ave., Setauket every 15 minutes. Guests will visit 10 locations to walk-in on conversations between Spies of the American Revolution, Known and Unknown. Rain date is Oct. 29. Call for prices. 631-751-3730, www.tvhs.org


Tails, Trails and Treats – This event has been postponed to Oct. 30.

Celebrate Halloween at Sweetbriar Nature Center, 62 Eckernkamp Drive, Smithtown with  Tales, Trails, and Treats on Oct. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m. Kids can enjoy close encounters with animals, a ghostly garden, games, and a special puppet enchanted trail. For families wtih children ages 2 to 7 years old. $15 per child,  $5 adults. www.sweetbriarnc.org, 631-974-6344

Ghosts and Goblins event

Ghosts and goblins will invade Smithtown all in the name of good fun when the Smithtown Recreation Department hosts its annual Ghosts and Goblins event on Oct. 22 at Browns Road Park, 72 Browns Road, Nesconset from 10 a.m. to noon. Enjoy games and prizes, pony rides, a balloon artist, and more. Free. Call 631-360-7644.

Stony Brook

Halloween Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day is back at the Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook just in time for Halloween! Join them on Oct. 30 from 1 to 4 p.m. for  pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating, crafts and more. Wear your Halloween costume if you wish. Free admission. 631-751-0066, www.longislandmuseum.org

Secrets and Spirits Walking Tour 

Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosts a Secrets and Spirits of Stony Brook Village walking tours on Oct. 30 at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Participants of the tour will hear new stories of local hauntings along Stony Brook’s coastal community including the story of the Long Island witch trials, the apparitions of Annette Williamson at the Country House Restaurant (c.1710), the mysterious woman in white seen at the Stony Brook Grist Mill, William Sidney Mount and Spirit Photography; the ghost ships of shipbuilder Jonas Smith, and the role women mediums played in the Suffrage Movement.$12 per person. To reserve your spot, call 631-751-2244.

Halloween Festival

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization hosts its 32nd annual Halloween Festival at the Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main St., Stony Brook on Oct. 31 from 2 to 5 p.m. with music from WALK 97.5, trick-or-treating throughout Stony Brook Village Center, dancing and games for children, Scarecrow Competition announcements at 4 p.m. and a Halloween parade, led by Monster Merlin! Free. 631-751-2244, www.wmho.org


Haunted History

The Suffolk County Farm, 350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank presents Haunted History: Night at the Farm on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. What’s the farm like after dark? Learn all about the haunted history of the farm’s 150+ year old barn. Hear a spooky story and then take a wagon ride to the corn maze. Hopefully, you can find your way out before the headless horseman finds you! Bring a flashlight. $15 per person. Recommended for ages 8+. Call 631-852-4600 or visit www.ccesuffolk.org for further information


Commack United Methodist Church, 486 Townline Road, Commack presents its 5th annual  Trunk-N-Treat event on Oct. 29 from 2 to 4 p.m. Children can trick or treat for candy at festively decorated car trunks and truck beds and enjoy games, crafts and activities. Free. 631-499-7310, www.commack-umc.org


Hauppauge Public Library, 1373 Veterans Memorial Highway, Hauppauge invites the community to trick or treat in their parking lot on Oct. 28 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Community members will be decorating their trunks in fun and spooky themes and will pass out candy to trick or treaters. The library will also have snacks, games, crafts, and other activities. This event is free and open to all. 631-979-1600.


Join Hallockville Museum Farm, 6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead dressed in costume for a festive Trunk or Treat on Oct. 29 from 3 to 6 p.m. The event will feature Mike the Silly Magician, a fabulous silent auction and raffle, pumpkin decorating and other Halloween crafts, games on the lawn, a costume parade and contest, all culminating in an amazing Trunk or Treat! Admission is $15 per person, $50 family of 4. 631-298-5292, www.hallockville.org

Rocky Point

The North Shore Youth Council and the Rocky Point PTA present a Trunk Or Treat! event at the Joseph A. Edgar School, 525 Route 25A, Rocky Point on Oct. 30 from 2 to 5 p.m. with decorated cars and trunks, candy and non-edible treats, face painting, crafts and photo prop. Costumes encouraged. Join them for a scary good time! Register for this free event at www.eventbrite.com.


Suffolk County Farm, 350 Yaphank Ave., Yaphank hosts a Truck or Treat event on Oct. 29  from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy truck or treating, trick or treating around the farm, crafts, wagon rides, games, farm animal visits, corn maze and more. Costumes encouraged. $15 children ages 1 to 17, $5 adults. Register at www.eventbrite.com. 631-852-4600.


Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker are back in 'Hocus Pocus 2'. Photo from Disney+

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

In 1993, Disney released the comedy-fantasy Hocus Pocus. The film starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as the Sanderson Sisters — Winifred, Sarah, and Mary. After their execution in Salem in 1693, the trio of witches are accidentally resurrected three centuries later. Directed by Kenny Ortega from a screenplay by Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris, the film received negative reviews, and the studio lost over $16 million. However, Hocus Pocus became a cult favorite, with home viewing a Halloween tradition.

Now Disney offers a direct-to-streaming sequel helmed by a completely new production team. Anne Fletcher directs Jen D’Angelo’s script of Hocus Pocus 2. 

Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy with the Book of Spells. Photo from Disney+

The prologue, set in Salem in 1653, shows the young Sanderson Sisters (played with great humor by Taylor Paige Henderson as teenage Winifred, Nina Kitchen as young Mary, and Juju Journey Brener as the child Sarah) confronted by the puritanical Reverend Traske. The minister wants to marry off Winifred on this, her sixteenth birthday. The girls flee to the woods, where they encounter Mother Witch (a nice cameo by Ted Lasso’s Hannah Waddingham). The mysterious sorceress provides them with the spell book that brings them into a life of the occult.

The action jumps to the present: Halloween, 29 years after the first film’s events. Becca and her best friend, Izzy, celebrate her sixteenth birthday with a ritual in the woods. Having received the infamous black flame candle from Gilbert, the owner of the Olde Salem Magic Shoppe, Becca and Izzy accidentally conjure the witches. The newly restored enchantresses announce their desire for revenge on all of Salem. The ensuing plot rehashes much of the original film: similar situations, clumsy jokes, and mid-range magical effects.

The Sanderson Sisters visit Walgreens in a scene from the film. Photo from Disney+

The sequel’s sole reason is the return of Midler, Parker, and Najimy. The roles have achieved a certain iconography, not-so-subtly parodied. Halloween celebrants and trick-or-treaters traipse through, dressed in identical costumes. The gag builds to a look-a-like contest featuring outrageous drag queens (RuPaul’s Drag Race’s Ginger Minj, Kornbread Jeté, and Kahmora Hall). 

The usual time-travelers-out-of-time setups include a requisite but amusing visit to Walgreens. Here, Becca and Izzy convince the Sanderson Sisters the plethora of beauty products contain children’s souls. The visit ends with Midler flying off on a broom, Parker on a Swiffer, and Najimy balancing on a pair of Roombas. They conspire, bicker, and sing snatches of popular songs with alternate lyrics. Nothing new is on offer, but the drive is nostalgia, not reinvention. They truly are the “Gothic Golden Girls.”

Belissa Escobedo, Whitney Peak and Lilia Buckingham in a scene from the movie. Photo from Disney+

However, what works surprisingly well is the young cast. Whitney Peak is wonderful, making Becca real, resourceful, and appealing. She lands her punchlines without precociousness. Her wryness perfectly complements Belisssa Escobedo’s Izzy. Escobedo’s mild handwringing and edge of perpetual panic make her the ideal foil for the cooler-headed Becca. Rounding out the trio is Lilia Buckingham as Cassie Traske, the girls’ estranged friend. While she is less prominent, when she finally reunites with her best friends, her presence provides the wide-eyed incredulity that helps drive the last act.

Tony Hale doubles as the fanatical seventeenth-century pastor and his descendant, Cassie’s goofy father, who happens to be the mayor and the witches’ prime target. Hale is a gifted comedian who makes the on-the-nose quips fun and even occasionally smart. Sam Richardson charmingly mines the slightly bumbling but well-meaning Gilbert. Returning from the original film, Doug Jones gives the same easy performance as the zombie Billy Butcherson. Froy Gutierrez earns honest laughs as Mike, Cassie’s clueless boyfriend.

In the end, Hocus Pocus 2 covers little new territory. The film is often loud and busy, where it could have been clever. Many jokes are forced and do not necessarily play. 

Kathy Najimy, Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker are back in ‘Hocus Pocus 2’. Photo from Disney+

Both films possess an After School Special vibe, but the core issue of the candle lit by a virgin makes for some interesting lunchroom conversation with the elementary school set. But the ending takes a different tone from the original, building to lessons about sharing power and the value of personal connection. The message is very traditional Disney and makes for a sweet resolution. For fans of the original, the film will be a welcome Halloween treat. For the rest, Hocus Pocus 2 is a harmless, if predictable, holiday outing. 

Rated PG, the film is now streaming on Disney+.

The Bronx Zoo
The Bronx Zoo’s First-Ever After Dark Haunted Experience

New for 2022, the Bronx Zoo is adding an after-hours event – Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching. This is the zoo’s first-ever Halloween nighttime event for older audiences. Dinosaurs in Darkness transforms the fan favorite Dinosaur Safari into a thrilling nighttime experience each Friday and Saturday night from October 7-29 (including Monday Oct. 10). The Hatching is a scary Halloween walk-through experience that sends participants on an adventure that brings them up close with prehistoric creatures in a whole new way as they follow the story of a rare dinosaur egg, found intact after 66 million years, that is finally ready to hatch! What could possibly go wrong? This  is an after-hours event and is ticketed separately from Bronx Zoo admission. It is recommended for ages 13 and up. More information and tickets are available at https://bronxzoo.com/dinos-in-darkness.

See a video here: Dinosaurs in Darkness: The Hatching

The tradition of Boo at the Zoo will operate at the Bronx Zoo during normal open hours each Saturday and Sunday from October 1 to 30 (including the holiday, Monday October 10). Outdoor activities will include the popular professional pumpkin carving demonstrations and displays; magic and mind reading shows; trick or treating on the Candy Trail; and the spooky extinct animal graveyard. Animal-themed costumed stilt walkers and Halloween animal puppets will headline the costume parade, and everyone can meet live vultures, owls, ravens and other birds each day on the zoo’s historic Astor Court. Finally, October and Boo at the Zoo is the last chance to catch the Dinosaur Safari. The experience will go extinct on October 30.

See a video here: Boo at the Zoo

For more information, tickets and a full schedule of activities, visit the website at BronxZoo.com/Boo-at-the-Zoo.

About the Bronx Zoo: The Bronx Zoo, located on 265 acres of hardwood forest in Bronx, NY, opened on Nov. 8, 1899. It is world-renowned for its leadership in the areas of animal welfare, husbandry, veterinarian care, education, science and conservation. The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is the flagship park of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) which manages the world’s largest network of urban wildlife parks including the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and New York Aquarium. Our curators and animal care staff work to save, propagate, and sustain populations of threatened and endangered species. We have educated and inspired more than 400 million visitors at our zoos and aquarium since our opening and host approximately 4 million guests at our parks each year – including about a half-million students annually. The Bronx Zoo is the largest youth employer in the borough of the Bronx, providing opportunity and helping to transform lives in one of the most under-served communities in the nation. The Bronx Zoo is the subject of THE ZOO, a docu-series aired world-wide on Animal Planet. Members of the media should contact [email protected] for more information or with questions.