CLINTON HILL – Last night, the creepy and kooky team behind Halloween 313, who have been putting on elaborate, family-friendly stage shows for neighbors every October 31 for the past 20 years, performed its swan song.
Despite last night’s chilly temperatures, the playful and irreverent show, The Curse of the Voodoo Queen, was enjoyed by thousands of locals who stopped by in between their tricks and/or treats. Costumed kids were hoisted up by their parents to get a better view of the stage set up on the front lawn of 313 Clinton Avenue, home of Janna Kennedy-Hyten, or the “Halloween Lady,” the theatrical group’s team leader.
The free show, which happens during the Society for Clinton Hill’s Annual Halloween Walk, runs continuous performances throughout the night (approximately every 30 minutes from 5:30pm to 9pm) and attracts more than 5,000 viewers!
The production is a creative collaboration between Halloween-lovers who also happen to be professional artists, actors, writers, producers, designers, and musicians living in the Clinton Hill and Fort Greene neighborhoods. “What began as a collection of tombstone decorations in the front yard of 313 Clinton years ago (which still go on display every year) has evolved into a Brooklyn institution beloved by generations of local kids,” the Halloween 313 Facebook page states.
The not-for-profit community group relies on donations, t-shirt sales, and a partnership with the Society for Clinton Hill to cover all operating costs. Halloween 313 originally partnered up with the Society for Clinton Hill to create a safe trick-or-treating event for neighborhood families that quickly evolved into the original, live stage productions.
Last night’s spirited show opened with a group of trick-or-treaters who accidentally conjure up the spirit of Marie Laveau, the legendary voodoo queen of New Orleans, summoning her to Brooklyn where she plans to turn them into zombies. With help from a supporting cast featuring Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Werewolf, and other undead creatures, Laveau discovers that the gadget-obsessed kids already act like the walking dead.
Previous productions have included Nightmare on Clinton Avenue, 20,000 Screams Under the Sea, A Grimm Scarytale, Malice in Underland, and Vampire Opera.
On Monday, the Halloween 313 Facebook page posted: “Here it comes, kiddos! After 20 years of amazing Halloween shows, we saved our best for last. Come see our FINAL shows for Brooklyn TOMORROW night!! The voodoo magic starts around 5:30!”
BKLYNER reached out to the Halloween Lady herself to ask if it is true that these much-loved annual shows are coming to an end.
“Sadly yes, this is my last year in Clinton Hill,” Kennedy-Hyten replied. “I just cannot afford to stay.” She is looking to move to nearby Bed-Stuy where she “can wreak havoc in that neighborhood” and is even considering a move upstate.
“I am so very grateful for 23 years of Halloween here,” she says of Clinton Hill, her neighbors, and fans of the show. “If there was anyway in the world I could stay and keep doing it, I would.”
She says it’s been a joy for her to bring the “creativity of so many talented people in my wonderful group of friends” to the community, and adds, “Stay tuned. I have a feeling some of these guys aren’t done just yet.”
[Slideshow photos and video: Pamela Wong/BKLYNER]