You are reading

Halloween to Return to Sunnyside Gardens in Full Force Sunday

Dan Maskara, a Sunnyside Gardens resident, has decorated his house for Halloween this year with a theme from ‘The Shining’ (Photo courtesy of Dan Maskara)

Oct. 27, 2021 By Christian Murray

The streets of Sunnyside Gardens will be closed for a few hours Sunday night to make way for approximately 1,000 kids who will be trick-or-treating.

The annual Halloween event through Sunnyside Gardens will return this year in full force after the pandemic crimped festivities last year.

“I’m expecting 1,000 kids to come this year—and about 500 adults,” said Dan Maskara, who lives on 45th Street and has gained a reputation for producing the spookiest house in the neighborhood each year. “It’s going to be big.”

Costumes at previous trick-or-treat events in Sunnyside Gardens (Photo: Queens Post archives)

Maskara, who has been in contact with the NYPD, said that 44th, 45th, 46th and 47th Streets between Skillman Avenue and 39th Avenue will be closed for about three hours Sunday to ensure that the participating children are kept safe from traffic.

The festivities typically take place between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Halloween night. “Around 6:30 p.m. it gets crazy and the streets fill right up.”

Maskara, who has been decorating his house each Halloween for about 15 years, said that the number of children participating has grown significantly over the years.

Costumes at previous trick-or-treat events in Sunnyside Gardens (Photo: Queens Post archives)

Six years ago he reached out to city officials to get 45th Street—between 39th Avenue and Skillman Avenue– closed for safety purposes. It was expanded with the help of Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to the neighboring streets the following year.

Maskara’s house has gained notoriety for its horrors. In fact, in 2013, the Sunnyside Post held a Halloween competition and his home at 39-45 45th St. was voted the “Spookiest.”

He said that people often come by and say: “I’ve been hearing about your house for years.”

This year he has adopted the theme of “The Shining,” and his display includes the two infamous Grady twins.

His decorations also feature a grandfather clock as well as a rocking chair with a skeleton.

There is also a door that has piece hacked out of it to expose the face of Jack Nicholson. The door has a hatchet in it and has the word redrum scribbled on it.

Maskara said that he also has miniature doll house on the front yard with the Norman Bates character from Psycho in it as part of a murder scene. Leatherface from the The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is in doll house too.

On the roof, there is a toy chest up with a a demonic head sticking out of it and an old bassinet with a doll from 1912.

The theme selected each year, Maskara said, is a family decision.

“We have a serious sit down about a month before [Halloween],” he said. This year his 10-year-old daughter selected the theme. In recent years themes have included the Exorcist and Psycho.

Maskara will also have projectors playing classic horror films. One projector will be playing The Skeleton Dance–a 1929 Disney classic—on his second-floor window. On a screen beside his house, he will have a super 8 projector playing movies such as Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Creature Walks Among Us and Dracula.

Maskara estimates that at least 10 houses per block are decorated each year. Last year, however, Halloween was more subdued given COVID-19.

The Maskara family have decorated their Sunnyside Gardens house for Halloween this year with a theme from ‘The Shining’ (Photo courtesy of Dan Maskara)

Van Bramer, who lives on 46th Street, said that the number of children trick or treating in Sunnyside Gardens has increased over the years.

He said that the event is a long tradition in Sunnyside Gardens.

“Halloween in Sunnyside Gardens is one of my favorite nights of the year,” Van Bramer said. “When we moved to 46th Street almost 20 years ago I couldn’t believe how many kids there were. I had only bought a couple of bags of candy.”

This year Van Bramer said that he will be armed with 2,000 pieces of candy given the number of children expected.

He said that he admired Dan Maskara and his wife Meridith who have played a role in building the event over the years. “They represent the spirt of the neighborhood.”

Dan Maskara showcasing his Halloween display in 2013 (Photo: QueensPost)

Van Bramer said the event has a reputation far beyond Sunnyside Gardens. He said that when he hands out candy each year he meets families from Jackson Heights, Astoria and all over Sunnyside and Woodside.

“The neighborhood embraces everyone. It’s great to see.”

email the author: [email protected]

9 Comments

Click for Comments 
Helen Gigante

Roads are for cars, not people.Roads = commerce, commerce = a going economy, a going economy = life liberty, pursuit of happiness.

This is still a rights taking…Liberty interest…personal agency, freedom of movement, right to ones environs, future property values post area saturation. They want to limit mobility and assert control over populations…corral populations into a small areas. Think the medieval era…feudalism..inability to move around. without permission …lack of freedom of movement and dependence on those higher up..lords/royalty etc.

Developer extraction interest…land use…upzoning…densification aligning with bike lobby..transit activists and all the IT purveyors/ privitization of the curb entrepreneurs. 600 sq ft using bikes /buses unless you make over x income. Class basing the car, roads and single family housing. Queens as city-suburb, despite density and varied housing, will be erased. Neighborhoods will be ‘rebranded’ as residential districts..whole idea of neighborhoods as distinct villages, erased.

It’s not just Queens..it’s happening across the city, all demo’s almost all neighborhoods using whichever pretext best suits the neighborhood. And, those they currently can’t touch, they will continue to chip away at until they get want they want..land parcels for redevelopment. This needs to be stopped before we lose the whole dam City via degradation of roads/busways and character and fabric of neighborhoods.

4
8
Reply
Jackie

Halloween is one of the only holidays most us celebrate unanimously because of the free candy. I have seen people from all walks of life trick or treating.

Reply
Scrooge of Halloween

Who needs 1,000 kids?
They are being brought here by adults dropping them off!
It shouldn’t go on until 8:30 on a school night!
The Park should be the center of attention.

Reply
A Normal Pedestrian

Sounds like the streets will actually be *open* for once instead of closed to everyone but drivers.

22
22
Reply
Kate

Looks like such a great event. Looking forward to celebrating my first Halloween in Sunnyside.

14
11
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Op-Ed: This Year’s State Budget Must Prioritize Climate, Jobs, and Justice for New York

Op-Ed, Jan. 30, By Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas

In a time of rampant economic inequality and environmental injustice, it is easy to feel defeated.  Here in Queens and across New York State, however, communities are organizing for a better future. New Yorkers from different backgrounds and with different lived experiences are proving that we can build community, organize, and create a future that reflects our shared values.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

Jan. 27, 2023 By Bill Parry

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.