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Halloween party in park was more fun than scary

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The backyard of the Passerelle building at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was the scene this weekend of the city’s 17th annual Halloween Party/Fall Festival. A few dozen kids and their grown-ups gathered in the cold, bright sunshine of the first afternoon of daylight savings time and checked out the diversions.

One little boy and a little girl dressed as Morticia moved around lunch plate-size checkers on a huge board set up on the ground. Others tossed rings onto spikes or balls into holes built into the ugly faces of ghouls painted on plywood boards while a band fronted by an Elvira-like lady performed and gave out prizes of Day-Glo-colored balloon guitars.

Another group of kids kicked their shoes off and jumped around in one of those colorful, inflatable cage things, and a guy in a Scooby Doo costume held babies and posed for cameras held by their parents.

In the middle of the grounds a bunch of kids played a game that involved colored horse heads while others indulged in clouds of pink cotton candy that could be had for free. Other kids

ran around with their faces painted with cat whiskers and spiders and other ghoulishnesses, and a public service person had set up a table decorated with tiny pumpkins. A health mobile sat, as discreetly as a health mobile can sit, near the parking lot entrance. Interestingly, the grownups who came in

costume were dressed more fancifully than most of the children. I saw Dracula, a few Queens of the Damned, a few witches complete with black conical hats and long curved warty noses, and people with weird and impossible hair.

“Are we having fun?” I asked a little girl named Anya who had a spider’s web inked on her cheek.

“Yeah,” she said.

“What have you done?”

“I went on the hayride.”

“Oh!”

The hayride went around the tennis center and there was a line to get on board, but I was slightly disappointed that a green Parks Department truck pulled the wagon full of happy hayriders instead of a couple of sturdy shire horses as back in the day.

“Did you like the hayride?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“I dunno,” shrugged the little person, and she walked away in the direction of the cotton candy.

The Halloween extravaganza was presented by the city Parks and Recreation Department.

The party in the park was certainly not the only Halloween happening in Queens. Costume parties complete with music, magicians, and other entertainment (with some haunted houses) were held at Forest Park, the Queens Museum of Art, the Grass Mall, the Alley Pond Environmental Center, the Queens Farm Museum, the Queens Zoo, the Socrates Scultpure Park, and at Materials for the Arts in Long Island City (where kids and adults were able to make their own costumes while feasting on fried chicken).

The holidays have just begun!

Reach Qguide writer Arlene McKanic by e-mail at timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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