A Brooklyn Mom Saves Halloween

Is Halloween canceled? One Brooklyn mom’s answer: a resounding NO.

Amanda Sue Nichols was brainstorming ways to trick-or-treat for her three daughters when she remembered the Rainbow Map. For the unfamiliar, the Rainbow Map was a scavenger hunt in which children made drawings and paintings of rainbows and displayed them for people to see while walking — among few acceptable activities in the early days of lockdown.

“One of the best things about Halloween is that you can put in minimal effort and your kids will still have fun,” Nichols told us. “With so many parents pulling double or even triple duty right now, asking them to plan extravagant haunted houses and scavenger hunts on top of everything else seemed excessive.”

Thus the Halloween Pumpkin Hunt 2020 was born. Similar to the Rainbow Map, children are encouraged to create pumpkin artwork, hang it in a window and then submit their location to the map Nichols created. Then, on Halloween, parents can use the map to create a scavenger hunt for their children — in costume, of course.

After realizing giving out candy might draw crowds and require too much coordination, Nichols decided to focus on costumes. But, the Cobble Hill mom said, “what’s the point of dressing up if no one is going to see?! I needed something that kids could do socially distanced, but which maintained the commonality of experience and sense of community that makes Halloween so much fun.

”That being said, Nichols recommended parents having a candy prize on hand. 

The Halloween Pumpkin Hunt 2020 website launched just a few days ago. More than 50 households in several Brooklyn neighborhoods, Queens, Philadelphia and Westport, Connecticut, have signed up. It can quite literally be done anywhere. If you are interested in participating, you can learn more here.

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A Deadass Sweet Business

Anthony Virey with one of his hives. Photo: Deadass Beekeeping

So, how does a born and bred New Yorker end up beekeeping in rural Pennsylvania? Four numbers: 2020.

When New York City locked down in March, Anthony Virey joined his uncle for what he thought would be a few weeks on the family’s 200-acre plot of land in Mount Pleasant, about an hour or so southeast of Pittsburgh.

As weeks turned into months and it became clear Covid-19 was not going away anytime soon, people around the world took up a plethora of hobbies. We baked, we cut hair, we gardened, we binged (food? Netflix? wine? all of the above?). Virey, 30 years old, along with his cousin, Don Antonio Santos, 25, took up beekeeping. It’s not, Virey told us, something people typically fall into. But his uncle had a few hives, and Virey had always been fascinated with bugs, so he figured, why not?

As the two cousins watched the country struggle — politically, socially and financially — they felt a sense of helplessness many of us know well.

Anthony Virey (L) and Don Antonio Santos (R) Photo: Deadass Beekeeping

So they created a business, Deadass Beekeeping.

“I think a lot of people, a lot of brands, a lot of everybody really, is kind of recalibrating right now and trying to hone in on purpose and why we do the things that we do,” Virey said. “We have all this time to think analytically and think deeper. We want to use a product like honey, because it’s such a sustainable product in and of itself, and positively affects the communities that made us who we are.” The cousins are Filipino-American and were raised between Queens and Long Island. 

Deadass — we will save you a Google search — is a colloquial term New Yorkers use meaning “I’m serious” (like deadass serious, get it?).

A percentage of all proceeds will be donated to the environmental organization GrowNYC.

The first batch of Deadass Beekeeping honey goes on sale this Friday. Follow the company’s Instagram account for details on how to purchase.

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