Sign up for our Newsletter

Trick or treaters are greeted by some rather large costumers at Halloween Fest 2019. (Credit: Elizabeth Wagner)

Don’t be alarmed if you see a coffin speeding through Riverhead this weekend.

The annual Halloween Fest, sponsored by Riverhead Business Improvement District, is set to return on Saturday, Oct. 23 after being canceled last year. The festivities include the coffin races, trick-or-treating on Main Street, a costume parade, prizes and live musical performances.

“We are thrilled to be back in full swing with events in downtown Riverhead,” said Riverhead BID executive director Kristy Verity. “The Halloween Fest is community-oriented, it’s free to everyone. The businesses love getting involved, the community shows up.”

Teams of five can register in advance to build their coffins and race down Griffing Avenue at 3 p.m.

Families can also trick-or-treat at businesses along Main Street from 4 to 6 p.m. Verity said that there will be sanitizing stations throughout and that visitors are encouraged to wear masks and social distance.

The costume and float parade at 7 p.m. will take a different route this year due to the demolitions along Main Street, instead traveling toward the north parking lot where the awards ceremony will be held. There will be cash prizes for the best costumes, cars and more.

Music artist and East End Arts instructor Mark MK will emcee the awards, which will include performances from both East End Arts Rocks and Mark MK’s hip hop students. Peconic Ballet Theatre will perform a rendition of “Thriller.”

The return of Halloween Fest, along with future events like the Crawloween brewery crawl on Oct. 29, are part of Riverhead’s ongoing cultural development, which Verity believes will only be bolstered by the development of a Town Square, where two buildings are currently being demolished downtown.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s going to be a really nice place for people to gather. We’re looking to begin working with all these organizations in the area. We have so much diversity and different cultures [in the community] so we’re excited to have a central meeting place. We’re looking forward to bringing Riverhead together.”