It was Kayleeah Brown’s second Halloween, but probably the first the 18-month-old would get excited about, and her mother, Tanisha, was afraid they might have to sit this year out.
Brown, 20, of Shirley, said she didn’t feel comfortable taking her baby out in her neighborhood after superstorm Sandy, but luckily, she heard at the last minute that Center Moriches would hold its annual “March of the Goblins,” a Main Street Halloween celebration for families.
“She got so excited once I got her dressed up,” Brown said of her daughter, dressed in a purple princess costume. “If we weren’t here, we’d probably just stay home.”
The same sentiments were being passed around Main Street on Wednesday evening as hundreds of people - possibly even more than 1,000, according to some estimates - attended the 11th annual event, which wasn’t confirmed until about noon that day.
“This was in question,” said Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico, who handed out candy outside Bank Street Park, about the Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event. “But we’re glad... that we could do this.
“This is not only great for the kids, but for the parents,” he added. “It brings back a sense of normalcy to people’s lives.”
Panico said though Main Street did not flood, coastal areas in the Moriches did, and the area still had “a considerable amount” of power outages.
“I’m sure people were ready to get out of their houses,” he said.
Even before the official start time at 4:30 p.m., store employees were at their posts ready to hand out candy and people filled the streets; and even beyond the end time at 6 p.m., the DJ played on and people danced in the streets.
Kevin Loiacono, owner and broker at BrookHampton Realty, said he was happy the chamber decided to hold the event but he only wished his employees had more time to prepare. The last two Halloweens, they turned their office and the side alley into a haunted house. But without notice, this year they were handing out blue rubber BrookHampton bracelets.
Loiacono said this year, he thought more people had come from out of town, perhaps because their own neighborhoods were unsafe for trick-or-treating.
“People were obviously stir crazy and looking for something to do,” he said. “There are a lot more people here than normal from Shirley, Mastic, Manorville.”
Laura Herpich, of Manorville, sauntered around Main Street with her son, her brother and his children, dressed elaborately as Medusa.
Asked if she always puts in so much effort, she said: “Every year,” which was the same answer she gave about how often she attends the Center Moriches event.
“Honestly, it’s great that they kept this open,” she said. “The kids had to get out of the house, they were going stir-crazy. This morning I was calling every store to see if they were going to be here.”