DYKER HEIGHTS — An entire neighborhood got an early start on Halloween as NIA Community Services hosted its annual Halloween Spooktacular for kids of all ages.
Nearly 1,000 revelers attended the Fourth Annual Spooktacular on Saturday, Oct. 26. The event, held from 2-6 p.m. on 11th Avenue between 66th and 67th Streets, celebrated everything attendees expect from the spooky holiday, including a costume contest, magic show, performances, candy and more.
The primary focus of NIA’s work revolves around expanded after-school partnerships that serve several thousand students daily, encouraging exploration and learning through the arts and sciences, developing new skills, providing opportunities for exercise, and fostering positive youth development and healthy lifestyle choices.
NIA’s board of directors includes President Michael Bove, CEO Mary Anne Cino and Executive Director Rosa Casella.
“It was a beautiful day,” Casella told this paper. “It was really a successful event for the kids and they all had a great time, especially pumpkin painting. The block was packed with kids, not only kids from our neighborhood but it was open to the community.”
There were all sorts of refreshments including cotton candy and popcorn, and every child got to take home a pumpkin.
The event was also sponsored by City Councilmember Justin Brannan, state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Peter Abbate along with the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development.
“What a great time it was for all the children in the neighborhood,” Abbate told this paper. “It was a safe place where they could come and enjoy so many different activities. It’s just another part of what the NIA does during the year to provide services to our children.”
Brannan said that he was excited to be continuing what he called a great neighborhood tradition. “This annual event gives kids young and old a safe place to go trick-or-treating on Halloween,” he explained.
“This year it was bigger and better than ever with games, rides, popcorn, pumpkin painting, costume contests, music and more. And the best part is it’s all absolutely free. Just another way for us to give back to this great community,” he added.
For his part, Gounardes was already looking forward to the NIA’s upcoming Halloween Festival at Owl’s Head Park on Thursday, Oct. 31, from 4 to 8 p.m.
“Prepare for fright and delight! The Halloween Spooktacular and the Halloween Festival are the traditions that make our neighborhood a great place to live,” said Gounardes.
“I hope everyone enjoys these fun events for the whole family. I’ll be there and ready to trade for a dark chocolate bar,” he added.