By: Lizz Panchyk
As we all know, Covid-19 has put a damper on celebrations all over the world. With Halloween rapidly approaching, Long Island is coming up with new ways to celebrate in a safe and sanitary way. Trick-or-treating will not be encouraged this year as it requires being face to face with others while accepting candy from someone else’s house. This is now more of an uncomfortable situation, as the pandemic has changed daily life to a maximum. But that doesn’t mean Long Island doesn’t have other fall-friendly options this weekend.
The Milleridge Inn in Jericho always takes holidays very seriously. The Village is themed for the occasion and they’ve expanded their Halloween into a much safer setting, taking precautions where necessary. Event tickets can be purchased through their website, and these events take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Saturday, Oct. 31. Visit https://milleridgeinn.com to learn more.
The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze is another Halloween event, which is new on Long Island. It takes place in Old Bethpage Restoration Village and is running Wednesdays through Sundays until November 8. This is a walk-through of thousands of carved and lit pumpkins in different designs, and it makes for an exciting but safe experience. Check out their site at pumpkinblaze.org/blaze-long-island.html.
If you like haunted houses, try the four unique drive-through or walk-through experiences Gateway Playhouse is offering this year. Three of the attractions: Brigand’s Run (an outdoor walk-thru experience), Not So Scary (a daytime version of an outdoor walk-thru experience), and Gateway’s Haunted Playhouse Drive-in Theater will be held at Gateway in Bellport. The fourth attraction, The Forgotten Road, is a drive-through haunted house at Southaven County Park in Yaphank, giving you the opportunity to be terrified from the safety of your car from 7 to 10 pm on Oct. 29 and until 11:30 on Oct. 30 and Halloween. Learn more at gatewayshauntedplayhouse.com.
Fall is often associated with pumpkins. Pumpkin patches, pumpkin picking, pumpkin spice lattes; they all make up a large portion of autumn. Of course, pumpkin patches have increasingly become popular due to the outside and separated aspect of it. Schmitt’s Family Farm in Melville has a large variety of fall activities. Their Fall Festival includes photo ops, hayride wagon rides and mini golf. This farm also contains a great pumpkin patch for annual pumpkin picking, as well as a sunflower field where you can pick a sunflower to buy. Their site is schmittfarms.com.
Looking into more local areas, there’s a smaller pumpkin patch in Garden City at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau on Stewart Avenue, only a short drive away from Adelphi. The church has a beautiful display and selection of pumpkins and mums, which create a colorful picturesque-like atmosphere on a busy road. An added bonus is that their pumpkins are sourced from the Navajo nation in New Mexico, so your purchases benefit them and the church. Going to pumpkin patches is a great activity for family and friends during a time where accomplishing normal yearly rituals becomes difficult.
Another locality that dresses up for the season is Hick’s Nurseries in Westbury. Hick’s always does a walk through inside for Halloween and Christmas, which they were still doing this year, with a few modifications. The line to see Otto the ghost’s story is outside instead of inside, and only a certain number of people are allowed in at a time. While hayrides and feeding the animals is not available to the public this year, there are plenty of pumpkins to go around. You can find a pumpkin as small as a tennis ball or as big as a watermelon. They also have gourds that come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Halloween decorations can be bought here, as well as delicious pies and the very popular apple cider donuts. Learn more at hicksnurseries.com.
Halloween is not cancelled, it’s just that the definition of how to celebrate has been extended. While we may not be coming home in a Party City costume with bags full of sweets, we can still enjoy a quiet Halloween in our homes, watching scary movies and baking pumpkin flavored treats, or go out in the crisp air and be surrounded by the warm colors of the season. It could also very well be possible that Halloween won't be celebrated as vividly this year.
First-year Nicole Cecere said, “This year since Halloween is on a weekend, and I can’t really go out with all my friends, I’m going to work. I can be out and see my coworkers while still making money."
With a few exceptions, Long Island has surely made it possible to enjoy this fall and this year’s Halloween with plenty of events and outdoor activities to keep us entertained and occupied. While Covid may stop us from having a normal Halloween, it won’t stop us from enjoying what’s been given to us instead.