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Halloween in a Year of COVID-19 Terror

Halloween

Most towns in the Tri-state region have said that they will carry on many or all of their Halloween traditions, with some exceptions. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and area health districts have warned that this is not a great year for old-school trick-or-treating, where children troop up to your front door and plunge their hands into a communal bowl of candy. 

There are many options teased out on the internet for helping children to enjoy what, for many, is the highlight of the year, a bigger deal than Christmas (Costumes? Candy? Fantasy? Come on!). You can of course search them out if you are looking for alternative ways to celebrate. 

The general idea is that this might be a good year to leave the porch light off, make a spooky dinner (hot dogs wrapped in puff pastry to look like fingers! Are those cherry tomatoes floating in your goulash, or something more sinister?), and watch a horror film with your pod (and isn’t the word “pod” so wonderfully horror film-esque?).

If you still really want to celebrate with other people but you want to avoid infection, you can go out and see horror films at three area theaters prior to and on the Big Day:  Four Brothers Drive-in in Amenia, N.Y., the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass., and the Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, N.Y.  

The schedule basics are listed below. Go to the venue websites for details on tickets and social distancing protocols.

Indoor Horror 

At the Mahaiwe, the screenings are indoor but with limited capacity and strict social distance protocols. 

The double-feature this weekend on Friday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 31, at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m., is the original black-and-white film of “Frankenstein” from 1931 starring Boris Karloff; and then the 1940 science fiction thriller “The Devil Bat,” starring Bela Lugosi. 

Go to www.mahaiwe.org or call 413-528-0100 during box office hours (Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.) for information.

Drive-In Horror

At the Four Brothers Drive-in, which also serves very delicious food, there will be several horror films (some scary, some family friendly) shown in the days before and on the day of Halloween. 

Go to their website at www.playeatdrink.com to confirm film titles and show times. They are showing “The Addams Family” cartoon feature film on Oct. 29 and then “Halloween,” the 2018 version. On Oct. 30 and 31, the early evening film is “Beetlejuice” — followed by “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan (which is not a horror film).

At the Center for Performing Arts, the screenings are outdoors, on the side of a barn and 40-feet wide. You watch from your car, drive-in style. 

The features on Oct.  30 and 31 are “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” at 7 p.m. and “Creature from the Black Lagoon” at 8:30 p.m. On Oct. 31, each car will be given a bag of treats. 

Go to www.centerforperformingarts.showare.com or call 845-876-3080 for more information. 

Outdoor Frolics

If there is more of the gorgeous autumn weather we’ve had these past few weeks, and you feel you must get outdoors to celebrate, Sharon Audubon has created a Pumpkin Trail that will be open from sunrise to sunset until Nov. 8. 

Families are welcome to come walk around the center’s main grounds at 325 Cornwall Bridge Road/Route 4 in Sharon, Conn., and view the carved and decorated pumpkin entries on exhibit. There will be voting for Viewer’s Choice winners.

Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, Mass., will host Halloween on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a costume contest for kids, ghost stories, a scavenger hunt, and a goody bag handout (while supplies last). All activities are included with admission ($20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $8 for ages 13 to 17; under 12 is free). 

From 6 to 8:30 p.m. there will be a Trick for Treat costume party for grown-ups, with a food truck, fire pit and music (maybe even “The Monster Mash”!). Tickets are $45 (which includes three drink vouchers).

For more information, go to www.hancockshakervillage.org.

Whatever you decide to do, and especially if you choose to go trick-or-treating with your family, be respectful and remember that town officials are hoping you will remain in your own town and not go to other nearby towns, where festivities might be overwhelmed by an unexpected and large influx of people from out of town. 

 

Information on these events has appeared in past issues of Compass arts and entertainment. 

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