Flashlights are handed out with the menus this week at Munday’s in downtown Huntington, as the restaurant hosts its annual “Dining in the Dark” celebration leading up to Halloween.
The diner-style restaurant has been decorating — and that’s decorating with a capital D — for Halloween season for more than 30 years. And during the final week, they add black light light bulbs and turn the restaurant into an even spookier place to dine. On Halloween day, the staff also dresses in costume.
“It looks super cool,” says Luke Mavroudakis, 16, of Greenlawn. “It’s definitely a whole different vibe. The webbing is awesome.”
White spider webs coat the walls, as do strings of orange Christmas-tree style lights. Visitors pass by Frankenstein, Dracula and a bust of Medusa on the way to their booths. Push the button on Medusa, and her eyes light up red and the snakes in her hair move. Bats, ghosts and witches hang from the ceiling. A black spider twirls over the entry way, spinning as people who open the diner’s door bring in a gust of air.
The Halloween tradition began in 1986, when the previous owner of Munday’s suggested the staff mark the holiday, says waitress Joan Burke. “We all had such a good time, we said, ‘We should do this again.’ Originally, we just did it on Halloween day. People were complaining they couldn’t get in because of the lines. So, we went to the owner and asked if we could extend it for a week. Each year we had more and more fun. It grew and grew and grew to this magnitude.”
Joan pulled in her brother, Paul Burke of Huntington, to take charge of the whole Halloween operation. Now, the decorations build up over more than three weeks — and they’ll stay up through Nov. 3 — but the “Dining in the Dark” is only for the week leading up to Halloween Day. On Nov. 1, the light will be back on.
When Munday’s was sold to the current owner in 1997, he inherited the holiday festivities and added the black-light week. “It cannot be too morbid or scary for children,” Joan says. “Look at Frankenstein’s face. He’s cute. My little ghost over there is very cute and friendly.”
It’s not just kids who love the Dining in the Dark tradition. “We purposely came her because we knew that it started tonight,” says Karen Short, 66, of Centerport, who arrived with friends Linda Azzara, 61, and Joan Verardo, 63, also of Centerport.
Munday's is at 259 Main St., Huntington. It's open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, call 631-421-3553.