New Jersey Institute of Balance - October 2017

Oct 2017


Hoboken A Place of Mischief and Memories

filled hallways, but even the most terrified participants would start to laugh and enjoy themselves after that first fright. And, for the real little kids, there was a hay bale maze outside and some fun activities to join in on. We were forced to shut down the event a couple years back for various reasons, but I have to say, I miss the haunted house. It was just such a good time getting the entire community involved in nothing more than getting a few screams and laughs. That said, Halloween is still fun. We get a ludicrous number of trick-or-treaters, many of them with costumes more impressive than anything you would’ve seen when I was a kid, and I’m eager to hand out candy and chat with the parents. It might not be the same as it was a few years ago, but Halloween still makes the community come alive, bustling with kids and families out on the town having fun. I hope all my readers have a fantastic Halloween and manage to sneak a few pieces of candy from their kids’ stashes.

lent itself perfectly to our frightful atmosphere, with long halls draped in shadows and Gothic architecture. Every year, my Hoboken Pride organization and I would pull out all the stops, putting thousands of dollars into decorations, complete with fog machines and almost 50 volunteers acting as the ghoulish denizens of the haunted house. Best of all, it didn’t cost a single penny for attendees. Though the event only ran from 7 to 9:30 on both the eve and evening of Halloween, it was huge, with more than 3,000 local residents coming through some years. Of course, I was right in the middle of the action, wearing an intricate costume and a grotesque mask, scaring attendees left and right. It’s funny: Ostensibly, these kinds of events are for the (slightly older) kids, but the atmosphere was so contagious that I think sometimes the adults had even more fun than the little ones. Sometimes, kids — and even parents —were really scared as they made their way through the echoey, fog-

The Halloween season has always been one of my favorite times of the year. From being a kid, dressing up as Batman and amassing huge quantities of candy from the neighbors, to these days, where I spend way too much time adorning the common hallway of my apartment building with cobwebs, ghosts, and jack-o’-lanterns, I’ve always gotten into the holiday spirit. My fondest memories of Halloween were from when I ran the scariest haunted house in Hoboken. A family tradition that my father started over 30 years ago, the haunted house may not be an event we put on anymore, but while it was in operation, it was a bona fide hit in the community every “Mischief Night” and Halloween evening. The location of the haunted house changed frequently, but the best spot we ever had it was the Church of the Holy Innocents on 6th andWillow. The massive, stone-wrought building was established back in 1871, and it

“Halloween still makes the community come alive.”

— Dr. Michael Russo


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