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Haunt-Faire gives visitors preview of Halloween

A clown in an orange jumpsuit is among

A clown in an orange jumpsuit is among the characters visitors can encounter at Haunt-Faire in Ronkonkoma. Photo Credit: Nicolai Patrick Photography / Nick Jiannaras

For Halloween fans — it’s never too hot to haunt. Despite the summer weather, the evil spirits are on the rise in Ronkonkoma at the second annual Haunt-Faire Aug. 5-7 at the Clarion Hotel.

“This is a convention for all things haunted,” says Elsie Ginsberg, president of Twitch Twitch Productions, which is putting on the event. “It’s focused on the haunted attractions industry and the paranormal world.”

The three-day event is packed with activities that will help you tap into your inner demon. Here are four that are not to be missed:


Get ready to go chase some ghosts — Long Island’s first haunted bus tour has arrived. This eight-hour trip includes visits at haunts like Kings Park psychiatric grounds, Old Bethpage Restoration Village, Gateway Playhouse in Bellport and Katie’s of Smithtown.

“Long Island has a lot of haunted locations. People tend to read more about them rather than go to them,” says Ginsberg. “We thought, why not jump on a bus like when we were kids and make a field trip out of it?”

Coming along for the ride will be the Long Island Paranormal Investigators, the Gettysburg Ghost Gals (an all female paranormal team) and John Brightman of the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures.”

“We are an extremely scientific team,” says Brigid Goode of Gettysburg Ghost Gals. “Something has to really stand out to be labeled ghost activity. We go the extra mile to make sure it’s paranormal.”

Brightman adds, “Any average person can have an interaction with a ghost. It happens all the time, depends on if your mind is open to it.”


More than 25 panels will be held, focusing on paranormal happenings and the art of hosting a haunted house. Haunted house specialist Leonard Pickel delivers three talks: “The Truth About Owning Your First Haunted Attraction,” “The History of October of Haunting” and “Cheap Scares: Maximum Fright Factor on a Budget!”

“People love haunted houses because entering one is a real adrenaline rush, like getting on a fast roller coaster,” says Pickel. “They want to experience what it’s like to run into a killer or a zombie because it gets their blood flowing — all within a safe environment.”

Live-action haunted attractions such as Darkside Haunted House in Wading River, Haunted Mansion of Melville and Chamber of Horrors in Hauppauge will preview what they are preparing for the upcoming Halloween season and looking to hire some ghouls.

“A lot of people come dressed in character because they want to impress the haunt owners,” says Ginsberg. “This is their last hurrah before they go to work.”


Part of the fun of Haunt-Faire is getting to see all the creative makeup jobs happen firsthand at “Make-Up Wars,” a 90-minute competition where contestants face off in a horror makeup showdown. This year’s theme is “evil deities,” which focuses on the dark lords of various religions.

Judges will include special effects makeup experts such as Steve Siegelbaum and Ricky Vitus, who will be watching closely.

“I look for clean application,” says Siegelbaum. “I don’t like messy edges if there are prosthetics involved.”

Vitus will not only be judging but also holding makeup demos at his own table showing people how he creates his art.

“The rush is looking at a finished product that you once saw in your head as an imaginary creature and seeing other people’s reactions to it,” says Vitus. “It’s kind of like a Frankenstein complex — bringing the monster to life!”


Just because they are haunted doesn’t mean they aren’t fashion conscious. “Ladies of the Afterlife Fashion Show” will feature ghostly figures that will float down the runway.

“The models show off when their character lived and how they died,” says fashion show designer Nicole Oliva. “There are modest ones, sexy ones, some that are more fantasy-like while others are historical. But, they are all unified in white.”


WHEN | WHERE 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday (Haunted Bus Tour), 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5-7 at the Clarion Hotel, 3845 Veterans Memorial Hwy. in Ronkonkoma

INFO 516-395-3049,

ADMISSION $22.50 Saturday, $17.50 Sunday or $30 weekend pass; $65 bus tour (limited)

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