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Christmas House Long Island, featuring themed rooms and Santa, opens this winter 

Inspired by Halloween haunted houses, Lawrence resident Justin

Inspired by Halloween haunted houses, Lawrence resident Justin Schwartz created Christmas House Long Island. Opening Nov. 6, it is billed as a “fully immersive Christmas experience." Credit: Morgan Campbell

It may still be October, but the winter holidays are already gaining attention with the arrival of Christmas House Long Island.

Halloween is what inspired the holiday venue’s creator, Lawrence resident Justin Schwartz. "I love the excitement and atmosphere of haunted houses, and with Christmas House Long Island, we are going to bring Christmas lovers the same type of experience," says Schwartz, 31. "Minus anything scary, of course."

Billed as a "fully immersive Christmas experience," the house is slated to open Nov. 6. It will feature themed rooms such as the "Christmas Story Café" (which is based on the film of the same name), a "Gingerbread Room," an "Elf Room" and a "Snow Room," among others.

"The ability to enjoy a fully immersive indoor walk-through adventure with all things Christmas" is what Schwartz says will be gained from a visit.

Tours start through the "Christmas Cake Walk," which is a stroll between actual cakes that incorporate related holiday themes like "Polar Express," "Snoopy Christmas" and "Nightmare Before Christmas." The sweet items along the walk are not to be eaten, but anyone who wants to purchase one can place an order.

Santa will also be present, but Schwartz confirms he’ll be a socially distant Santa. "He will be seven feet away for all pictures, with a mask on so the kids know there's nothing scary about wearing a mask."

All state and federal health guidelines related to COVID-19 are being followed by Christmas House, and part of that will also include advanced online ticketing for 15-minute time slots, all to ensure social distancing. Staff members will also be on-hand to assist when necessary.

The staff has also been working hard to construct the indoor holiday excursion. Schwartz credits his team for their efforts, noting "thankfully, we have an amazing team that has dedicated every single waking moment to delivering families the greatest Christmas experience imaginable … it's been a joy the entire time."

INFO: 1241 Old Country Rd., Riverhead; 631-591-0455, Runs Nov. 6 to Jan. 10 daily, 3 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays, 10 to 1 a.m. Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $30; $25 ages 10 and younger.

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