If you can’t get enough Halloween amusement, plan on spending Friday, October 27 through Sunday, October 29 in Riverhead and “dare to be scared” when Halloween Fest, A Weekend of Fun and Frights takes over.
“Riverhead is the place to be this year if you love Halloween!” shared Diane Tucci of Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association. “The weekend of the 27-29th will be filled with fun and frights for all ages.”
The three day affair will highlight a plethora of Halloween themed happenings, from a Grand Costume Parade – the largest Halloween parade on the East End – to a Jack O’ Lantern Walk to Coffin Races, yes, you read that right, and many other frightful finds.
The event kicks off on Friday evening with a trio of spooktacular soirees. The Yoga Pants Band is headlining at Joe’s Garage at 7 p.m., the annual Masquerade Ball is taking place at Long Island Aquarium at 8 p.m. and a Dead Dance Ball will take it back to when classic rock ruled with original Scarecrow songs and classics from AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Heart, The Rolling Stones and more at Suffolk Theater at 8 p.m.
Saturday’s lineup will include the Bats, Barnacles & Broomsticks party at Long Island Aquarium (which includes an unmissable penguin costume parade), trick or treating on Main Street, more kids activities, the Coffin Racers Pre-Race Day Contest, restaurant specials, a Grand Costume Parade, movies at Vail-Leavitt, and live music at Joe’s Garage and Suffolk Theater.
“We’re bringing back our second annual Jack O’ Lantern Walk at East End Arts,” Tucci shared. “Folks are welcome to enter their carved pumpkins into our contest to compete for ribbons.”
Attendees can create their own masterpiece as part of Saturday’s festivities. “We have 100 pumpkins donated to us from Cornell Cooperative Extension. They are free to the public to come for carving from 12 to 5 p.m. behinds the old Sweezeys building on Main Street, on the river side,” she explained. “Folks are welcome to carve their pumpkins with us and enter them into our contest and put them on display for all to see. Please bring a bright battery operated candle for your pumpkin.”
One of the most spectacular sights can be seen on Saturday evening, from Griffing Avenue to the Peconic Riverfront. “Stick around because the most exciting part of the night is yet to come! Our fourth annual Grand Costume Parade is sure to be the biggest and best yet,” Tucci noted. “We are giving a $500 first place cash prize for the best overall parade entry – float or most creative participant. $250 2nd place, $125 3rd place.”
For those who haven’t committed to march, there’s still time. “Participants can register up to 5:30 that night. You must to registered to qualify for the cash prize!” she stressed. “All are welcome to walk in our parade if you are in costume or have a flat or other decorated vehicle. There is no fee. Please email [email protected].”
There will also be some noteworthy inaugural Halloween Fest happenings taking place. “Brand new this year will be the first annual Coffin Races. This event is modeled after similar races around the country,” Tucci relayed. “It’s a popular event that is getting a lot of attention locally and we hope to build it to an annual tradition in Riverhead.” The Riverhead Coffin Races are modeled after the Emma Crawford Coffin Races in Manitou Springs, Co, which attracts over 10,000 onlookers annually.
Unfortunately, if you haven’t reserved a coffin already, you’ll have to wait until 2018. But, being a part of the audience will still be an unforgettable experience. “Registration is closed for race participant this year, but spectators are welcome to come and see what it’s about and plan their own coffin racer for next year!” Tucci said. “We also will have a Trunk or Treat and other entertainment at the Coffin Races. It’s going to be a fun hometown event.”
In addition to the Race of the Dead – Riverhead’s Coffin Races, Sunday will conclude with the Trunk or Treat, more restaurant specials and a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at Suffolk Theater.
“The fan favorites are, by far, the parade and we expect the coffin races to be a phenomenal hit,” Tucci added. “The best thing to do is check the website for all the info about what’s happening!”
For more information, visit halloweenfestriverhead.com.