Tags Posts tagged with "Halloween"


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.

METRO photo

The toothy grins of jack-o’-lanterns are as much a part of Halloween as candy corn and costumes. Even though these carved pumpkins have become synonymous with Halloween, the festive gourds weren’t always tied to the October holiday. The history behind jack-o’-lanterns is not entirely known and there are multiple origin stories, but people may have been making these carvings for centuries.

One tale traces the origin back to Ireland and a popular Irish myth. According to History.com, the tradition involves a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” As the story goes, Stingy Jack invited the devil to share a drink with him. Being the cheapskate his name implies, Jack didn’t want to pay for the drinks, and he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy the beverages. After the devil transformed, Stingy Jack instead pocketed the money and placed it next to a silver cross, which prevented the devil from changing back into his original form. Jack made the devil promise that should Jack die, he wouldn’t claim his soul.

Eventually Jack freed the devil, but not before he tricked him again with another con. When Stingy Jack eventually died, legend states God would not allow such a trickster and unsavory character into heaven. The devil could not claim Jack’s soul as promised, but he was upset by the tricks Jack had played. In turn, the devil then sent Jack off to wander the dark night infinitely with only a burning coal to light the path. Stingy Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been traversing the planet ever since. Irish storytellers first began to refer to Jack’s specter as “Jack of the Lantern.” Eventually the name was shortened to “Jack O’Lantern.”

There are other origin stories regarding jack-o’-lanterns. Some say the term originated in 17th century Britain, where it was often customary to call men whose names were unknown a common moniker like “Jack.” Night watchmen who carried lanterns might have been called “Jack with the lantern.” Other theories connect jack-o’-lanterns to the Celtic pagan practice of hallowing out root vegetables and carving them with grotesque faces. Illuminated by coal or candles, these items served to ward off evil spirits. When settlers came from Europe to America, where turnips and other root vegetables were scarce, they used native pumpkins instead. Jack-o’-lanterns are often seen lighting up the Halloween night.

There are various theories regarding the origins of the carved gourds. While the truth may never be fully known, it is fun to learn about the various origin stories connected to this popular symbol of Halloween.

METRO photo

Homeowners think nothing of having goblins, nurses, vampires, or astronauts showing up at their doors each October 31 asking for candy. Any other time of the year and these visitors might be turned away. But Halloween is all about the magical and the macabre, and trick-or-treating is a major component of the festivities.

Kids and adults alike cry out “trick or treat” at each house they visit. Many utter this familiar phrase without a second thought and may have no idea how this familiar custom came to be. During the Middle Ages, less fortunate individuals would go “souling,” which was a process of going door-to-door asking for food on November 1 in return for saying prayers for the deceased on All Souls Day on November 2.

Many centuries later, the tradition of “guising” began in Scotland around the same time of year. People began wearing masks and costumes to disguise themselves and prevent evil spirits from harming them. Spirits were thought to cross over more readily around Halloween. The custom also was called “mumming” and was celebrated in nearby England and Ireland as well. Costumes were eventually accompanied by hijinks. Mischief makers would sing a rhyme, do a card trick or tell a story in exchange for a treat. If that treat wasn’t presented, a “trick” could be played.

For 19th century children, tricks included jamming hot cabbage into a keyhole to stink up a house or frightening passersby. History.com indicates that when European immigrants arrived in America, they didn’t give up their annual mischief or requests for treats, and the custom spread throughout the early 20th century in the United States.

While the practice of begging for treats in some shape or form went by many names, Merriam-Webster reports that a newspaper in Saskatchewan, Canada first mentioned the words “treat” and “trick” together in print. A 1923 article indicated, “Hallowe’en passed off very quietly here. ‘Treats’ not ‘tricks’ were the order of the evening.” By 1927, more and more children were uttering “tricks or treats” to solicit candy from their neighbors. Trick-or-treating gained steam throughout the 1950s, with endorsements by major candy companies. The custom also was showcased in popular comic strips. Even though there are tricks to be made on Halloween, treats are the real draw of the day.

Image from The Shoppes

The Shoppes at East Wind, 5768 Route 25A, Wading River will host a Safe Trick or Treat event on Sunday, Oct. 31 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Children in costume can find treats OUTSIDE participating shops. Enjoy a Fall Festival and Craft Fair while there. Held rain or shine. Email [email protected] for more information.

Above, Kerriann Flanagan Brosky kicked off her Fall book tour at the Country House Restaurant in Stony Brook hosted by owner Bob Willemstyn on September 30.

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

The versatile Kerriann Flanagan Brosky’s works include Historic Crimes of Long Island (reviewed in this paper October 2017), Ghosts of Long Island, The Medal, and Delectable Italian Dishes for Family and Friends, among others. Haunted America (a division of The History Press) presents her latest work, Haunted Long Island Mysteries, a well-crafted overview of various sites of supernatural activity from Sag Harbor to Port Washington. Brosky has once again teamed up with medium and paranormal investigator Joe Giaquinto to explore a range of “spirited” hauntings. 

Author Kerriann Flanagan Brosky

This is Brosky’s fourth ghost book: “The journey of investigating over one hundred presumably haunted locales on Long Island has led me to understand many things, including the importance of these spiritual beings and how they relate to our past and history, to the continuity of life after death and to the ability to communicate with our loved ones after they have passed.” Brosky finds the place where history and the spirit world eloquently intersect with the paranormal.

Both Brosky and Giaquinto come from a grounded and focused point of view. They are not looking for converts. Instead, they ask the reader to keep an open mind. “We are simply putting our research and investigations out there for one to ponder while at the same time teaching you about local history and the importance of preserving it.”

Each chapter focuses on a specific location: a house, an inn, a cemetery, a restaurant, etc. From Setauket to Patchogue, Babylon to Stony Brook — many of these places (18 in all) will be familiar to the readers from reading about or even visiting them. 

First, Brosky provides a meticulously researched background, with detailed notes on the construction and physical elements. Next, she succinctly proceeds to accounts of the occupants’ lives throughout the years—the families, the marriages, the breaks, the affairs. Finally, having established context, she arrives at the present, interviewing caretakers, directors, docents, and board members. She then connects past to present, highlighting any of the unusual occurrences. 

The final section of most chapters is composed of Brosky and Giaquinto’s actual work in the location, including photography, video, and, most interesting, the use of a ghost box. A ghost box (also known as a spirit box) contacts spirits using radio frequency. The result is EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena): human-sounding voices from an unknown source heard on recorded data from an audiotape, radio station noise, or other electronic media. The book contains portions of transcriptions, but readers may listen to the actual recordings by visiting www.ghostsoflongisland.com, then clicking on Haunted Long Island Mysteries.

The book contains accounts of orbs of light, dark silhouettes, footsteps in the middle of the night, and slamming doors. There are rooms where the temperature is exceptionally and inexplicably cold. There are scents with no source. But it is not about things that go bump in the night (though many do, including the voice of a screaming woman). Instead, it is about the energy and the presence (perhaps more blessed than haunted). Most of the encounters are with benign and even welcoming entities. Whether focusing on a member of the Culper Spy Ring, a library custodian, a mother guilty of filicide, or victims of a shipwreck, Brosky shows respect for her mission. 

For believers, the book presents an ideal blend of history and mystery. For others, the exceptional scholarship provides an undeniably detailed examination of a range of Long Island settings. The work celebrates the scientific, not the sensational. This world is not populated by fanatics or conspiracy theories but people who have experienced events and connections for which they cannot find an explanation. 

Brosky offers many perspectives in the dozens of interviews. “People always ask us if we have ghosts,” states Frank Giebfried, a docent and board member at Meadow Croft in Sayville. “I have not really experienced anything, just a little voice here or there, but nothing that I would attribute to anything supernatural. I’m a skeptic, but I’m not going to not believe the things people tell me they experience.”

Brosky honors groups like the Bayport-Bluepoint Heritage Association, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization and the Oyster Bay Historical Society for their work in preserving these historical sites and making them available to the public.

The last two chapters are devoted to the Sundance Stables in Manorville, with the final chapter focusing on Rebecca Weissbard, who died in 2016 at age twenty-two. A gifted equestrian, “Becca” died in a horseback riding incident. Her detailed story is the ideal coda because of the resonance of its deeply personal nature.

Giaquinto best sums up Haunted Long Island Mysteries: “There is something for everyone in this book. If you love history, it’s in the book. If you like to read ghost stories and urban legends, there are many to peruse here. And if you’ve ever been curious how a paranormal researcher does their work, you’ll find it here as well.”

Haunted Long Island Mysteries is available online at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Learn more about the author at www.kerriannflanaganbrosky.com.

Nick Castle as Michael Myers in a scene from the film. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

The Halloween franchise boasts eleven films, including seven in the first series (with the third an unconnected entry), a reboot, and a continuation of its premiere track. The most recent, Halloween (2018), is now joined by Halloween Kills.

Jamie Lee Curtis and Judy Greer in a scene from the film. Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

While falling into the category of “slasher movie,” Halloween (1978) remains one of the finest thrillers. Taut, brooding, and atmospheric, it relied on shadows, tension, and an unforgettable score to create its horror. John Carpenter directed and co-wrote the film that remains definitive in the genre. In addition, the film catapulted its lead, Jamie Lee Curtis, to Scream Queen stardom. She presented Laurie Strode as a self-actualized and resourceful heroine. Curtis would reprise the role four more times in addition to Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends (projected for release in 2022).

Ignoring much of the mythology developed during the progressively less inspired sequels, the well-received Halloween (2018) picked up forty years after the original film, with institutionalized killer Michael Myers (once again Nick Castle and James Jude Courtney) escaping while being transferred to a maximum-security prison. After returning to Haddonfield and embarking on a killing spree, he “dies” in Laurie’s burning home. The film emphasized Laurie as a wounded survivor, finding the inner strength to confront her living nightmare. The script—by Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green—honored the story’s roots. Carpenter praised the outing, noting the strength of the screenplay and Green’s direction.

It would be easy to say things like Halloween Kills … an hour and forty-six minutes of your life. Or Halloween Kills … the desire to go to the movies. Or Halloween Kills … a franchise. It would be easy to pick this low-hanging fruit. So, I won’t say any of those things. 

Halloween Kills is a movie cobbled together with brutal violence and an absence of actual conflict. It serves as a placeholder between the first film, which reintroduced the characters, and the third (and hopefully final) chapter that concludes Laurie’s journey. That Michael Myers must survive to complete the trilogy is a given. Nevertheless, it does not need to be so painfully generic. In the first fifteen minutes, Michael slaughters an entire team of first responders. What follows is one meaningless killing after another.

The film makes the egregious error of showing flashbacks to the Halloween (and Halloween) of 1978. However, these newly shot scenes lack the meditative, shadowed world of the original. Instead, they are overwrought, introducing information with only the slightest nod towards character development. Additionally, the use of footage of Donald Pleasance (the powerful, understated Dr. Loomis of the source film) is a reminder of the complete absence of style and substance in this newest incarnation.

Having been stabbed in the abdomen, Laurie spends almost the entire film in a hospital bed (shades of Halloween II’s hospital location). Sidelining the strongest character is a mistake. Saddling an actor of Jamie Lee Curtis’s caliber with embarrassingly clumsy dialogue is a crime.

The roster of townspeople is a mix of new characters and shout-outs to minor characters in the original. Some of the 1978 cast returns to play themselves forty years later; others are the grown-up versions of the children hunted that fateful night. 

Anthony Michael Hall is the adult Tommy, the boy Laurie was babysitting. The role edges to slightly more than one dimension. At a bar talent night(!), Tommy shares the story of “The Bogeyman,” who terrorized the town. His character misfires on every level, trading trauma for campfire whimsy and rally-round-the-pitchfork-boys. Among the new victims for the stalk-dispatch-repeat are an African American couple (she’s a doctor; he’s a nurse) and a gay couple (Big John and Little John). Please don’t get too invested in the diversity; they are all undefined fodder for the knife.

Worst of all, in a nod to topicality, the creators introduce the dangers of mob mentality and vigilante justice. “Evil dies tonight!” they chant. Multiple times. Declarations such as “No, he’s turning us into monsters,” “The more he kills, the more he transcends,” and “He is the essence of evil” don’t elevate the situation.

The performances never overstep the awkward script. Judy Greer (as Karen Nelson, Laurie’s daughter), Andi Matichak (as Allyson Nelson, Laurie’s granddaughter),  and Will Patton (as Deputy Frank Hawkins) continue their paths from Halloween (2018). Greer, a talented actor, is a cipher. It is also hard to believe that her husband was murdered by Michael this same night. It is as if the year between the release of the films has allowed her to accept it. The storyline and timeline are bizarrely disconnected. 

For those looking for a predictable, sadistic bloodbath, Halloween Kills might be for you. But, for those hoping for plot, motivation, thought, tone, and engagement … well, there’s always next Halloween. Rated R, the film is now playing in local theaters.


Other seasonal fair to consider: the Candyman reboot; Malignant, the twisty thriller from James Wan; Lamb, the story of a human/sheep hybrid; Last Night in Soho, a psychological time-travel film with a horror overtone; malevolent forces in Shepherd; and the supernatural creature-feature Antlers, starring Keri Russell. (Please note: These films have not been reviewed by TBR News Media.)

By Heidi Sutton

October is such a great time of year with  the lovely weather, the changing leaves, mums, pumpkin and apple picking and trick or treating. It also means the return of the holiday treat A Kooky Spooky Halloween at Theatre Three. With emphasis on the power of friendship and the importance of helping others, the original musical, written by Jeffrey Sanzel and Steve McCoy, runs through Oct. 30.

The star of the show is a nice ghost named Abner Perkins (Steven Uihlein) who has just graduated from Haunting High School. Awarded a medallion of invisibility, he is given the coveted assignment of haunting Ma Aberdeen’s Boarding House, famously known for being the most haunted house in Harrison County U.S.A … and for serving the best toast! Abner must abide by two rules — he can only haunt at night and he can’t lose the medallion or he’ll become visible and lose his powers.

There’s only one problem — Abner is afraid of the dark, which is “like a vampire who’s afraid of necks!” according to his best friend Lavinda the Witch (Alanna Rose Henriquez). She gives him a night light as a graduation present and promises to help him adjust to his ghostly duties.

When Abner and Lavinda arrive at the boarding house, they find the Petersons — Paul (Liam Marsigliano), his wife Penelope (Stephanie Moreau) and son Pip (Darren Clayton) — and Kit Garret (Heather Rose Kuhn), who has just come “from a small town to the big city with a suitcase in my hand and hope in my heart,” in the kitchen helping Ma Aberdeen (Ginger Dalton), the finest toast maker in the land, prepare treat bags for Halloween.

In one of the funniest moments in the show, Abner casts a speed spell on the group, making them dance, sing, spin like a top, quack like a duck and do jumping jacks in fast motion. His final spell of the night is to have them “join together like birds of a feather.”

Things are going hauntingly well until fellow graduate Dora Pike (Beth Ladd) appears out of thin air. Filled with jealousy, (she was hoping to be assigned to Ma Aberdeen’s boarding house) Dora steals Abner’s night light and medallion and threatens to drop them into Black Ridge Gulch, the deepest, darkest gorge in the entire world (where it’s really, really dark).

Still stuck to each other, the group can now see Abner who must convince them to help him retrieve his medallion and undo the spell. What follows is a “Golden Goose” moment throughout the theater that will leave you in stitches!

Peppered with Halloween riddles and jokes, the show is wonderful on so many levels. Directed by Jeffrey Sanzel, the 8-member adult cast know their target audience well and deliver standout performances with special mention to Ginger Dalton as Ma Aberdeen, a character she has played since the musical originated in 2017. I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role. 

Accompanied on piano by Douglas Quattrock and choreographed by Sari Feldman, the song and dance numbers are the heart of the show, especially “Into the World I Go” by Abner, “A Witch Is a Person” by Lavinda, and the fun group numbers, “A Need for Speed” and “It’s Ma Who Makes the Toast.”

Jason Allyn’s gorgeous costumes are on fleek, from the ghosts dressed from head to toe in flowing white and the witch’s purple dress and pointy hat, to the Peterson’s coordinating orange and black outfits and the spooky lighting design by Steven Uihlein sets the mood and ties everything together perfectly.

Halloween is always such a fun holiday for children. This year, make it extra special and take them to see A Kooky Spooky Halloween. They’ll love you for it.

Snacks and beverages are available for purchase during intermission and costumes are encouraged. Souvenir cat, pumpkin, Frankenstein, Dracula and ghost dolls will be available for purchase before the show and during intermission for $5. Meet the entire cast in the lobby for a group photo.

Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson presents A Kooky Spooky Halloween on Saturdays, Oct. 9, 16, 23 and 30 at 11 a.m. and Sunday, Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. Children’s theatre continues with Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 20 to Dec. 26, Puss-In-Boots from Jan. 15 to Feb 5, and a brand new production, Dorothy’s Adventures in Oz, from Feb. 23 to March 26. All seats are $10 and COVID protocols are in place. For more information or to order, call 631-928-9100 or visit www.theatrethree.com.

A scene from 'Poltergeist'

Featuring Exclusive Interviews With Actors Behind Iconic Horror Movie Characters  

Showcase Cinemas, a world leader in the motion picture exhibition industry, is excited to bring back its popular “Halloween Horror Month” event throughout the month of October at participating theaters in Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Ohio. 

Showcase Cinemas invites guests to get into the Halloween spirit with special screenings of Halloween cult classics and fan-favorite horror films. As a special add-on that can’t be found anywhere else, Showcase interviewed the actors behind some of the most iconic characters in all of horror history, including Alec Baldwin (“Beetlejuice”), Heather Langenkamp (“Nightmare on Elm Street”), Nick Castle (“Halloween”), Patrick Wilson (“The Conjuring”) and Oliver Robins (“Poltergeist”).  

Exclusive interviews will accompany the films below:  

·         Oct. 13: “Halloween” (1978) at 7:30pm 

·         Oct. 19: “Poltergeist” at 7:30pm 

·         Oct. 27: “Nightmare on Elm Street” at 7:30pm 

·         Oct. 28: “The Conjuring” at 7:30pm 

“Back by popular demand, we’re thrilled to once again kick off October with Halloween Horror Month at Showcase Cinemas, complete with exclusive interviews with the actors who played Halloween legends, which can’t be found anywhere else,” said Mark Malinowski, VP of Global Marketing for Showcase Cinemas. “There’s nothing like the experience of watching a spine-tingling classic horror film in the movie theater, as you feel the adrenaline rush of fighting the monsters together with the characters on the big screen. We invite all horror buffs to join us and celebrate the spooky season with their friends and family this October.” 

Participating theaters include Showcase Cinema de Lux locations in Dedham, Randolph, Foxboro, Blackstone Valley and Lowell in Massachusetts, along with Showcase Cinema de Lux Warwick (Quaker Lane) and Showcase Cinema de Lux Providence Place in Rhode Island. Participating theaters in New York include Showcase Cinema de Lux locations in Holtsville (Island 16), Farmingdale, Yonkers (Ridge Hill), White Plains (City Center), and College Point Multiplex Cinemas, along with Showcase Cinema de Lux Springdale in Ohio.  

With movie theaters now open at full capacity, Showcase Cinemas continues to implement health and safety protocols from the “Be Showcase Safe” program implemented last year for all Showcase Cinemas locations, including the installation of air-purifying systems for all US theaters.   

For more information on Halloween Horror Month and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.showcasecinemas.com/showcase-halloween-horror-month.  

About Showcase Cinemas 

Showcase Cinemas is a world leader in the motion picture exhibition industry, operating more than 828 movie screens in the U.S., U.K., Argentina and Brazil under the Showcase, Cinema de Lux, SuperLux and UCI brands. With 22 theater locations in the United States, Showcase Cinemas delivers the finest entertainment experience, offering the best in viewing, comfort and dining.  For more information about Showcase Cinemas please visit our website at www.showcasecinemas.com.

Photo from Vanderbilt Museum

The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport will present a Fall Festival with lots of seasonal fun for visitors of every age to enjoy a safe Halloween. The event will open Friday, Oct. 15, and run on weekends through Halloween. On Halloween weekend, everyone is invited to attend in costume. Different areas of the museum will feature staff members dressed in costumes and giving out trick-or-treat items.

Daytime (Saturdays, Sundays) 

From noon to 4 p.m.

Recommended for children 2 and up, (No costumed actors present.) the festival includes general admission to the museum, mini golf, face painting, pumpkin patch, Halloween games, a scavenger hunt, and more. Festive drinks and snacks along with farm stand items will be available for purchase. Tickets are $24 adults, $20 children.

Nighttime (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays) 

From 6 to 10 p.m.

Haunted attractions with costumed actors (not recommended for children 12 and under) include the Wicked Walk, a haunted maze, and The Wicked Haunt, the museum’s version of a haunted house, plus a 9-hole Mini Golf. Also, the Bubbly Bar will be selling refreshments and snacks. Guests can purchase one haunt for $25 (choose the one you like when you arrive). Both haunted attractions plus 9 holes of mini golf are $45 per person. Just 9 holes of mini golf is $10 per person. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.