2012-10-31 / Features

Trick Or Treating With Ghouls And Goblins At Astoria Park


Pint-sized trick or treaters enjoyed the media attention. 
Photos Gabrielle Winkel Pint-sized trick or treaters enjoyed the media attention. Photos Gabrielle Winkel On the eve of Hurricane Sandy’s muchhyped (and dreaded) arrival in New York City, about two dozen enthusiastic trick or treaters gathered by the field house in Astoria Park on October 27 for the First Annual Astoria Park Halloween Party and Costume Contest. They came to preview their costumes and partake of some candy, apple cider, music lessons and plenty of photo ops.

The party also marked the beginning of Green Shores NYC/Astoria Park Alliance annual Leaf Fests where volunteers rake and bag the leaves, which then go to the Western Queens Compost. Passionate rakers dotted the area by the track. The regular volunteers were there plus several spontaneous helpers including one gentleman who drove by on his bike hoping for something to drink.

“Sure if you rake a bit first,” said one of the coordinators.

And so he did.

What’s Halloween without one zombie. What’s Halloween without one zombie. Jules Corkery, of the Astoria Park Alliance, said “After four to five years of Leaf Fest, we wanted to kick it off with something fun. You could rake leaves in a costume if you had to. We always wanted to do something more celebratory. We wanted to party a bit.”

The Halloween idea for kids and dogs came after last August’s Shore Fest, which included a doggie parade.

“So many people have dogs. We are always in the park for different reasons,” he said.

At noon the costumed kids began to arrive, slowly at first, but soon the area in front of the field house had a Minnie and Mickey Mouse, a tiny Little Red Riding hood, a bat, a pirate, a princess and a grandmother and granddaughter pair of spiders.

“Everyone was a winner,” Corkery said diplomatically as she handed out books, journals and water color sets to all.

Siblings Billy and Julia came as Mickey and Minnie. 
Photo Gabrielle Winkel Siblings Billy and Julia came as Mickey and Minnie. Photo Gabrielle Winkel The children even got a ukulele lesson courtesy of Roberto Buscarsi who taught them The Monster Mash for the season.

“I’ll be the human bouncing ball,” the musician explained as he enthusiastically pointed out the oversized musical chords on a makeshift blackboard.

Tony Meloni, the director of NY Anti- Crime Agency, also came bearing gift reflectors for the kids. “So their parents and cars can see them when they go out Halloween night. We just want them to be safe,” he said.

Katie Ellman, of Green Shores NYC, added that Green Shores is an all volunteer advocacy group concerned with the East River waterfront. “We are always looking for volunteers to cultivate their interest in the green spaces closer to their homes.”

Gabriel, 13, one of the regular rakers, said, “It’s good to help the community. It’s nice to know you are helping people.”

As for the dogs also invited to participate? None showed, leading one adult guest to quip, “They are probably home packing their ‘go bags’.”

Want to volunteer? Leaf Fests have been planned for Astoria Park on November 3 and December 8, Queensbridge Park on Nov. 10 and Demarco Park on Nov. 17. All Fests are from 10 a.m. to noon. For exact locations, check out www.greenshoresnyc.org or Astoria Park Alliance on Facebook.

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