Halloween Fest events announced for downtown Riverhead

A scary skeleton.

A scary skeleton.

Headless horseman? Hearse driver? Dracula?

Come on down!

The Riverhead Business Improvement District’s first Halloween Fest is still looking for participants in its parade, which begins Saturday, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. on Griffing Avenue before it proceeds down Main Street in downtown Riverhead. 

Halloween Fest is a one-day event with trick or treating in front of downtown Riverhead stores from 2 to 5 p.m., and restaurant specials and street performers from 5 p.m. until the start of the parade. Vail Leavitt Music Hall will also be showing short spooky films during this time.

The celebration then continues into the night with an 8 p.m. screening of  “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at The Suffolk Theater and a Masquerade Ball at the Long Island Aquarium. Joe’s Garage and Vines and Hops are also getting into the spirit with late night costume parties.

The holiday celebration replaces the former Edgar Allen Poe Festival, which was also sponsored by the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association.

Diane Tucci, the BIDMA’s newly-hired executive director, has been working to organize the new event, which will feature a mix of new ideas and old ones like the parade and trick or treating.

The popular Michael Jackson “Thriller” flash mob, done by Redancers of downtown Riverhead, will also be back, Ms. Tucci said.

There will be a juggler, free face painting and an aerialist performing on Main Street, as well as a couple of musicians who will be walking around downtown, she said.  A DJ will also play Halloween music.

Among the new events this year will be the first Jack O’Lantern decorating contest, Ms. Tucci said.

People can bring their own carved or painted pumpkins downtown near the Farmers Market building, across from Suffolk Theater, at which point local Girl Scouts will put a battery-lit candle in them and display them at the East End Arts grounds.

There will be prizes for best traditional Jack O’Lantern, “best in show,” most spooky, people’s choice and best animal.

The parade will be “pet friendly,” so people can also dress up their pet and march in the parade.

All 49 lamp posts on Main Street will be decorated with lighting and cobwebs for the Halloween Fest.

Nancy Kouris of Blue Duck Bakery said she will have some readings at her business that day, including a Lizzie Borden character.

A rain date for trick or treating and the parade is set for Sunday, Oct. 30.