Tag Archive | "Halloween"

Bronx Moms Meet Up for Halloween Costume Swap

After spending hundreds of dollars on Halloween costumes in past years, a dozen Throgs Neck mothers participated in a costume swap to economize during an expensive holiday.

At the Brew Coffee House on Philip Avenue on the afternoon of Sept. 29, costumes covered tables, plastic pitchforks and scythes filled a basket and a bowl of candy sat near the door. A clown was ready and willing to paint faces. Children ran around and played in the cozy space while their mothers chatted and drank coffee. A Halloween-themed Pandora station played from speakers, filling the coffee house with the sounds of “Thriller” and “The Monster Mash.”

Geanine Petraglia, editor and publisher of the Macaroni Kid, an East Bronx blog geared towards local mothers, organized the event with Elizabeth Trempert, owner of Brew.

“Costumes are expensive,” Trempert said. “Kids never want to wear the same costume the next year, so every year – it just gets really expensive.”

Mothers reported that some costumes they purchased for their children in the past cost more than $50 including accessories and makeup.

“So now when you have two and three and four kids and you have to put all of them into a costume that’s almost half a month’s rent, pretty much,” said Trempert.

Petraglia recalled purchasing a costume for her three-month-old daughter that ran over $100, only to see it go into storage on Nov. 1. This inspired her to use her blog to bring the mothers of community members together and trade costumes.

“I thought there has to be so many other moms out there spending hundreds of dollars on costumes and they’re never seen from again,” she said.

Anyone who wanted to participate in the swap could drop off a costume ahead of time, or pay just $5 to enter and grab a costume. Many extra costumes were donated by community members and other local bloggers before the event. Petraglia recalled receiving two large boxes from a friend in Queens. She said she plans to donate any remaining costumes to a Bronx children’s hospital.

Trempert said that the holiday is very popular in the suburban neighborhood, and that many houses were already decorated for Halloween. Decorations, costumes and candy can add up to an expensive night for an area where the median income is just over $50,000, according to the 2010 American Community Survey for Community District 10.

Christine Destefano, a stay-at-home mom who brought her 5-year-old daughter to the costume swap, was very happy to leave with a new costume. “She got a Tinkerbell costume,” Destefano said. “She’s very excited. We swapped out a clown costume that she wore two years ago.”

Rukiya Shannon, a director of college advising at the Bronx Collegiate Academy in the South Bronx, and her 15-month-old son, Ryan, traded in a Native American costume for a tiger costume. She found the costume swap had other benefits besides a new costume.

“I got to meet a lot of other moms and families in the area, which I had not met before,” said Shannon. “Again, the event was free, and supports local businesses.”

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Halloween in Hunts Point

Southern Boulevard in Hunts Point was packed with hyper little fairies, monsters and clowns yesterday as children held out bags to local businesses yelling “Trick-or-Treat!” with eager faces waiting to see which candy would drop in.

Employees of local cell phone shops, clothing stores, and bodegas stood outside their stores’ entrances with large bags of candy, waiting for trick-or-treaters to come by. “We bought 40 bags of candy today,” said Jose Pinero, 28, who works at Forever clothing store. “We’ve been waiting for the kids all day.”

And the kids did not disappoint. They dragged parents and older siblings down the sidewalk, past policemen stationed on every block, eager to fill plastic pumpkin-shaped baskets full of treats. “I’ve handed candy to at least 400 kids already today,” said Dayton Turnquest, 24, of Ricky’s Super Store. “Some of these kids don’t have a lot of good things going on, so it’s nice to make them smile.”

Parents also appreciate the efforts by business owners. Candace William, 31, of Hunts Point, will only shop at stores that hand out candy on Halloween. She thinks the least businesses can do is give local kids some candy on Halloween.

In Hunts Point, it’s important that stores hand out candy, especially since many residents don’t feel comfortable trick-or-treating at residences. “No one goes door-to- door anymore,” said Mariceli Villanueva, 37, who held tight to her nine-year-old son (he was wearing a mask). “I wouldn’t take my son to a house I didn’t know.”

Just 10 years ago, Ivan Martinez, 28, loved to ask for candy at houses and see his neighbors. He now feels like people are so transient that he has no idea who his neighbors are.  “Things have changed,” he said, boarding a bus to a neighborhood north of Hunts Point with his wife and three kids. “Everything felt safer then.”

And some businesses benefit from the increased visibility on Halloween. Dominic Torres reminded parents, “This candy came from the Underground,” as he handed lollipops to the kids bought by the sportswear store he works for.

One business on Southern Boulevard, the shopping center of Hunts Point, thrives on Halloween. “We practically sold out of kids’ costumes this year,” said Mayko Matos, 19, manager of Ricky’s Super Store. “This is one of our biggest times of the year.” He added that the best-selling girls costume of 2011 was Jesse from Toy Story and little boys overwhelmingly went for Captain America.

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Halloween mischief could shut down bus lines, NY Daily News

The MTA says it may shut down bus lines in three neighborhoods, including Country Club and Edgewater in the Bronx, if Halloween mischief arises, according to the Daily News. Officials say these have been problem areas for vandalism in years past, but some locals aren’t convinced such drastic action—which would affect  Bx8 (Edgewater Park); Bx24 (Country Club)—is necessary.

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Poe’s Cottage, weak and weary no more, NY Times

Over 160 years ago, Edgar Allan Poe lived in a tiny, country poor man’s house in what today is the Bronx.  The New York Times reports that the famous poet’s cottage in the Fordham neighborhood is receiving finishing half-million dollar renovations and this month has opened to students.  October marks the month of the poet’s mysterious death and ends with Halloween.


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Bronx botanical garden debuts world’s largest pumpkin, NY Daily News

A giant pumpkin from Quebec, Canada will be the center of attraction at the New York Botanical Garden’s Halloween celebration this year, the NY Daily Daily reported.

Weighing close to one ton, the pumpkin will be carved on Saturday at the popular Bronx venue.

“Every year they just go after bigger and bigger ones,” said Michael Nee, a curator at the Botanical Garden. “There’s no end in sight”

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Skulls and Rosaries

Audio slideshow by Elettra Fiumi and David Patrick Alexander.

A local Soundview botanica owner counts on days like Saint Michael’s Day on September 29th to boost his flagging business.

“People aren’t going to the saints as much as before,” said John Santiago, owner of the Botanica store, which manages to maintain a steady revenue of approximately $53,000 per year. His is one of the last standing local botanicas. Three others closed down in the last year.

In a city still trying to recover from high jobless rates and a global economic collapse, this Botanica maintains a faithful clientele by offering religious tidbits of advice and a little generosity alongside wooden crucifixes, or bath soap that wards off evil. When someone in need can’t afford to buy something, he might give them a candle for free.

Santiago said sales of merchandise that includes skulls, rosaries and candles have gone down since the 1980s except for a brief surge around 9/11.

“People were getting scared and thinking they were going to die so they should clean their souls,” he said. “People only believe when something tragic happens.”

Sales increase drastically mostly around religious days like the day after Halloween, Christmas day and New Year’s Eve. Most clients don’t remember other saint days throughout the year, but when Santiago reminds them, he recalls them thanking him by giving him “muchos blessings.”

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