Middle Village ‘Halloween House’ spooks locals for 20 years

‘It’s a labor of love,’ Patrick ‘Halloween Guy’ Kenniff says

By Jessica Meditz


This Middle Village home has been a must-see for all Halloween lovers in the area for the last 20 years.

During Halloween season, the typically tame and tucked away 75th Street in Middle Village looks like something straight out of a horror movie.

To anyone else, that statement might be taken as an insult — but for Middle Village native Patrick Kenniff, it’s the ultimate compliment.

Kenniff, a musician who goes by the stage name of “Swan,” has been providing haunts and happiness to the community for 20 years straight — by decorating his home on the corner of 75th Street like no other.

He began sharing his extravagant display in 2003, which features decorations galore including inflatables, elaborate lights, Halloween music and sound effects, life-sized statues and even larger-than-life figures.

“I grew up with 10 brothers and sisters, so Halloween was something we always celebrated together. I started doing [the decorating] with my daughter, but now she’s a teenager and is too busy to help,” Kenniff said. “This whole thing started with a few little things here and there, and then it just got out of control and spiraled.”

Kenniff said that his decorations have accumulated over the years from a variety of well-known places, such as Home Depot and eBay — however, he’s proud to say that he made quite a few of the decorative staples himself.

This massive skeleton, just about half the size of Kenniff’s home, mans the fort.

Halloween is his favorite holiday of the year, which also played a role in motivating him to decorate his home annually.

But the largest motivating factor year after year is seeing the joy and amusement from all the local children and families — who aren’t afraid to express their appreciation.

“Every year, I change it up a bit,” Kenniff explained. “One year I wasn’t going to do the decorations, and these little kids came around and put a note in my door that said, ‘Please, Halloween guy, when are you going to put the decorations up?’”

“I knew I had to do it,” he said.

Kenniff said that the process of decorating his entire house from top to bottom takes about a week and a half to two weeks to complete; however, the process is not as tedious for him as it may seem — since he has a planned-out system.

Many of the oversized statues, some of which are half the height of the house itself, are stored in Kenniff’s garage, completely assembled year-round.

In addition, he made it known that the decorations visible outside are not all that he owns, and he has many more stored away inside his garage and basement.

“I got twice as much stored away,” he said with a laugh. “I literally have no more room for anything else.”

Every year, the house attracts over 500 trick-or-treaters — not including the countless number of adults who also stop by to take their selfies.

In fact, selfies and photography are something that Kenniff enthusiastically encourages for all who pay a visit, as seen by the The Middle Village Halloween House Facebook page intended for the community to share photos and memories.

“I have chairs set up right in front for people to sit and take pictures. I also have different toys right here that I’ve found from over the years, because I know the kids like to touch things,” he said. “It’s a little interactive.”

Guests are invited to sit down and take selfies in front of the house.

Among the spooky friends inside the interactive tent are characters from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” including Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie and Zero the dog.

On the porch guarding his door, surely to spook his pizza delivery man, are classic Halloween villains, such as Freddie Krueger, Jason Vorhees, Pinhead and IT. Being that the original “Halloween” is Kenniff’s favorite movie, Michael Myers naturally made an appearance.

Freddie Krueger makes an appearance.

In the past, Kenniff would invite visitors into his basement, where he also put on a display.

He discontinued the feature over the past few years due to the pandemic, but still goes above and beyond to make the house special and memorable for all.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “During COVID, I almost didn’t do it, but realized I had to because people need something to smile about.”

A spooktacular Halloween around Forest Hills

Where creativity and giving back come alive

By Michael Perlman


Halloween wonderment on Burns St, Photo by Michael Perlman.

Forest Hills certainly knows how to celebrate Halloween or “Hallowe’en,” derived from “All Hallows’ Evening” in Old English.

Residents can anticipate a number of creative events, spooky decorations and even a humanitarian perspective, whether an event entails homeowners, shops and restaurants, banks, teachers or children enjoying simple pleasures.

Although Halloween is on Oct. 31, some festivities will begin over the weekend or unfold throughout the month.

“We always support ‘Costumed for a Cure’ to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” said Nancy Adzemovic, branch manager of the landmarked Ridgewood Savings Bank at 107-55 Queens Boulevard.

“On Oct. 29 and Oct. 31, employees will be giving out candy and dressing up for donations to support this wonderful cause.”

This tradition originated over three decades ago, where colleagues and patrons have an opportunity to donate and vote for their favorite costumes.

Another bank is Maspeth Federal Savings at 101-09 Metropolitan Avenue, which is hosting a free, family-friendly “Halloween Spooktacular” on Oct. 31 from 2 to 5 p.m., where the staff will also dress up.

“Our event includes a DJ, balloon maker, a hayride, spin art and other activities, as well as free stadium pretzels and cotton candy,” said Jill Nicolois, assistant vice president and community affairs director.

NY1 News will also host the Chip City cookie truck and 112th Precinct Community Affairs officers will attend.

“We work with Croce Entertainment to plan this fun-filled event, and we’re proud to be part of the thriving neighborhood. In addition to our annual free summer concert, we feel this Halloween celebration is a great way to give back to our community,” Nicolois continued.

A must-stop is the Forest Hills Library at 108-19 71st Avenue, where Lucianne Pastorello works tirelessly as a children’s librarian.

For Halloween, she consolidated some of the best book titles for an engaging display.

Halloween books at Forest Hills Library.

On Oct. 31 at 4 p.m., children ages 5 to 12 can design haunted houses, enjoy spooky music and hear Halloween stories. Registration is required.

“The power of creativity and originality captures the attention of my readers. I plan programs based on what parents and kids request, and I pursue that by creating book displays and giving Grab-and-Go craft kits to celebrate their culture and holidays,” Pastorello said.

Halloween is a good time to celebrate while supporting small businesses.

A destination is Jade Eatery & Lounge at 1 Station Square, where festivities will be held all day on Halloween, thanks to owner Kumar and the marketing team.

Halloween at Jade Eatery & Lounge.

Marketing representative Daisy Vera explained, “We plan to distribute around 100 gift bags filled with candies and party favors for kids in costume. We will take it a step further by offering 10 percent off the entire dinner check for every guest. For adults, the first 50 guests get a shot of our special soon-to-be revealed Halloween drink.”

Additionally, for a festive season, the newest treat is the “Pumpkin Spiced S’mortini” drink.

Pumpkin Spiced S’mortini.

“Keeping up with the spirit and tradition, we’ve displayed spooky outdoor and indoor decorations for everyone to be a part of, since Halloween calls for a fun community celebration,” she continued.

Angelina Citrano, co-owner of Eddie’s Sweet Shop at 105-29 Metropolitan Avenue, extends an invite to book your Halloween party before Halloween (closed Mondays) and celebrate in the spirit of “Casper, the friendly ghost,” just like your ancestors nearly a century ago at this historic ice cream parlor and candy shop.

Traditions at Eddie’s Sweet Shop.

“Kids and their families love taking photos in front of our whimsical vintage Halloween windows,” Citrano said.

“When (owner) Vito and I had our boys, we always brought them into the shop and even had Halloween parties with friends, grandparents, nephews and nieces. When my father-in-law had the shop, he would give all the kids a quarter. Later on, Vito and I began giving out Sour Belts, a really special candy that we also sell and kids love them.”

It is a tradition for many businesses along Austin Street and Metropolitan Avenue to distribute candy.

Rachel Kellner, co-owner of the historic Aigner Chocolates at 103-02 Metropolitan Avenue, is also a co-founder of Metro Village of Forest Hills, a small business alliance.

“Our initiative created posters again this year to distinguish which businesses will be participating. There will be at least 20, although many more will likely do so. Kids wait all year to celebrate Halloween, and now that I have a little one, I see the excitement he experiences just thinking about it. We started brainstorming his costume months ago,” she said.

“I love being part of a community that celebrates that joy from the businesses on Metropolitan Avenue to the houses on Burns Street, and all the decorations and candy in between.”

Some apartment buildings really know how to party.

Elsie Stark will portray the “Howard Winter Witch” on Halloween at the Howard Apartments from 5 to 8 p.m.

The Howard Witch

“She will be flying in on her broomstick to land at 99-32 66th Road. The witches are all sisters of the same family,” Stark said.

Since 2015, the Green Witch, the White Rainbow Witch, and the Old Creepy Witch have visited.

She explained, “Every year, the Howard staff follows the witch’s request for setting up the witch’s cauldron and creating a special spooky place for kids to pick up treats and even take pictures with the visiting witch’s sister, either on the lawn or the porch. Our four-legged friends get treats as well. Children are imaginative, and when adults join in, it takes them back to their childhood. It’s a fun bonding experience.”

No expense was spared in the name of creative decorations and neighborliness for some homeowners of Forest Hills Gardens, particularly along the Burns Street rowhouses, east of Ascan Avenue.

A Forest Hills Gardens graveyard, Photo by Michael Perlman.

It is a tradition for huge audiences of children and adults to casually parade around in costume, go trick-or-treating and snap photos in front of Halloween showstopper homes featuring everything from skeletons climbing up facades and graveyards to ghostly encounters in trees and lighting spectaculars.

Nearby, one of the most “spooktacular” homes can be found at 87-23 69th Avenue between Metropolitan Avenue and Sybilla Street.

“We began decorating in 2007 and added more every year, until it grew into what it is now. Halloween is about having fun and not taking the world too seriously,” said Frederic Sandy, who originated the “31 Days of Halloween” and begins decorating on the first day of fall.

“People can stop by anytime in October to take pics. The best gift our community and beyond has given us is their participation in the ‘100 Pumpkin Challenge,’ where we ask folks to drop off their creative carvings, so we can add to our display,” he added. “The more jack-o’-lanterns we receive, the better it makes our house stand out. The first year we did that was in 2020, which symbolized having the community stand together in midst of all the negativity.” Behind-the-scenes, he and his family assemble decorations from the attic and garage.

Frederic Sandy’s 31 Days of Halloween.

“It creates a sea of props. This involves checking lights, changing batteries, replacing damaged props, shopping for good deals and day to day maintenance,” Sandy continued.

Halloween can be very interactive and educational.

Teacher Karen Silverman-Cohen, founder of “Karen’s Art In The Park,” will host a Halloween party at Ehrenreich-Austin Playground for young children on Oct. 28 at 10:30 a.m. for $30. Contact karensartinthepark@gmail.com and pre-register.

“Halloween is a chance for the children and moms to come together. It’s very important after being home for so long to be a part of the community and not feel isolated,” Silverman-Cohen said.

“We will have a book and art project, music, sensory play, bubbles, a take home activity bag and much more. Every class is a learning experience, using all the senses, and is a great way to introduce young children to the art world.”

She can often be found in the park, teaching young children on weekday mornings.

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing