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Walk this way for scares - Traditional Halloween fest returns for 14th year

On a sunny autumn day, the whistling winds and eerie shadows of Halloween seem far away – that is, if you don’t happen to notice the odd assemblage of individuals gathered outside the Colonial Road gate of Owls Head Park.

Look carefully at them – and the anomaly emerges: One man in a suit, another in a sport jacket and then a group in costume – a mad surgeon, a pharaoh and a baby penguin, plus a few ghoulish heads, just for effect.

Realize that the suited member of the group is State Senator Marty Golden and that the chief organizer of the annual Halloween Haunted Walk in Owls Head Park is there with a shrunken head on his shoulder, and the focus shifts.

With Halloween just two weeks away, it’s time to remind area residents of one of the community’s largest and most popular events, which is expected to draw upwards of 15,000 people this year.

The Haunted Walk and Halloween Carnival is 14 years young in 2008, and has expanded as its popularity has increased, said Golden.

This year, he noted, in addition to the ever popular walk on the wild side – during which witches and demons and a myriad of other horrific apparitions will strive to frighten the unwary – there will be a stroll through the Fairytale Forest and a Trick or Treat Trail for younger children, as well as numerous other family-friendly activities from rides to a costume contest, a pumpkin patch to a magic show.

“We’ll all be here to have a great, great time,” promised Golden. “We’ll have ghosts and goblins, tricks and treats. It’s going to be one big happy Halloween full of fun.”

Chip Cafiero, the event’s organizer, said that the Haunted Walk, “Is going to be even more spectacular this year.” While it was supposed to be moved because of work going on in the park, a construction delay means that the walk will be up at the top of the park, where it has been situated in the past, Cafiero said.

“The walk will be even more scary,” he vowed. “Only the brave will venture up to the top.”

Overall, the event has built momentum because many parents see it as “a safe alternative to trick or treating,” said Cafiero. “More and more parents are just bringing the kids here and skipping the trick or treating,” he noted.

For those who are in attendance, there will be lots of giveaways, he added, including comic books and coloring books, “besides all the treats.”

Because the line for the Haunted Walk can get long, this year, event attendees can purchase sponsor VIP passes in advance that will allow them to enter the walk through the sponsors’ entrance. Each pass requires a $5.00 donation, and admits one adult and four children.

The passes will be available until October 29th at eight local businesses: Circles Restaurant, 6901 Third Avenue; The Hutch, 8016 Third Avenue; Toys Toys Toys, 8224 Third Avenue; Lavender Blue, 8702 Third Avenue; Ahl Tone, 6749 Fifth Avenue; Havin’ A Party, 8414 Fifth Avenue; Hinsch’s, 8518 Fifth Avenue; and Jamie Lynn’s Kitchen, 1504 86th Street.

This year, Cafiero remarked, there will be close to 200 volunteers involved in creating the holiday magic, up from about 150 last year. Volunteers are still needed, he stressed, “not just acting, but in all capacities.” Those interested in being part of the event should call Golden’s office at 718-238-6044.

The Halloween Haunted Walk and Carnival in Owls Head Park is presented by Golden and produced by the Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst Parks Task Force and CERT1NYC, in conjunction with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

Further information can be found at the event’s website, www.halloweenwalk.com.

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