Petrifying Pumpkin Patch
Most of the kids attending were dressed in their Halloween costumes and parents enjoyed the opportunity to photograph their children with Count Dracula, the Cat in the Hat, Sylvester J. Pussycat, a giant bee and a clown, all played by the garden's experienced education staff.
Pumpkin Patch is designed to celebrate Halloween but not frighten small children. It was held in the Queens Botanical Garden's Children Garden, which was turned into a little patch of Transylvania with hay, pumpkins, tombstones, cobwebs, plastic skulls, creepy music and rubber snakes and spiders. Count Dracula, played by the Garden Director of Education Emeritus Fred Gerber, greeted the children as they entered the Children's Garden and often got a laugh with his sock puppets. Plastic skulls with illuminated eyes let loose a howl whenever children approached. ("The miracle of motion detectors," deadpanned one parent.) The Halloween prop that was probably most popular with kids was a skull with blood that trickled down its face whenever a child squeezed a rubber heart.
Sylvester J. Pussycat, played by Patty Kleinberg, director of education, helped the children build little haunted houses made from recycled cardboard milk cartons with planted green roofs. Within a few days of watering, grass will grow from the top of the haunted houses.
All the children received pumpkins that they were invited to paint and many were also entertained by stories read by the Cat In the Hat, played by Compost Project Coordinator Dan Tainow.