Oct. 27, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
LIC is gearing up for its annual Halloween festivities.
This Sunday hundreds of people will flood Vernon Boulevard for the annual Halloween parade, followed by free activities including a haunted house, games and a photo booth, and more throughout the neighborhood.
The parade will begin at the 108th Precinct at 2:30 p.m., moving down Vernon Boulevard and ending at the haunted house at the Paragon Paint building at 45-40 Vernon Boulevard.
However the parade is only the beginning, according to organizer Gianna Cerbone-Teoli of Manducatis Rustica, who explained that there would be activities throughout the neighborhood all day.
The haunted house at the Paragon Paint building will be open from 3 to 8 p.m. both Sunday and Monday. Furthermore, any local business with a big orange pumpkin in its window will also be offering some kind of Halloween activity.
Cerbone-Teoli began organizing the Halloween events in Long Island City over 10 years ago, though when she first started she said it was much smaller, with the haunted house in her own home.
Over the years it has grown, and last year she clocked 1,200 people entering the haunted house, which for the first time was held in the Paragon Paint building. This year, several 5 Pointz artists have volunteered to help with the event by painting Halloween-themed murals on the side of the Paragon building.
“This is such a tight community,” Cerbone-Teoli said, “And while people say it has changed it is still my neighborhood, and any time there is something going on everyone comes together. I can’t emphasize enough how great the moms and the whole community has been coming together to volunteer.”
Organizers of the event are emphasizing the community spirit by putting a twist on the events this year—they will be encouraging people to rally around Stella, a seven-month-old LIC resident with blood cancer.
In addition to the usual festivities, Manducatis Rustica will host a fundraising dinner to raise money for Stella’s care from 3:30 to 6 p.m. that day. Cerbone-Teoli said that many community members and businesses have donated food for the “Stella’s Superheroes” dinner, and it will include a buffet dinner and open bar.
There will also be a donation jar to support Stella outside of the haunted house, though it is free to enter.
“I’m just really touched that everyone comes out in such a big way,” Cerbone-Teoli said. “It really is a full community effort.”
For more information on the Halloween events visit https://www.facebook.com/halloweeninlic/.
For more information on Stella and the Stella’s Superheroes fundraiser visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/stellas-superheroes-fundraiser-tickets-28517084367.