The Emma Crawford Coffin Races started in 1994 in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Photo: ManitouSpings.org

The BID’s plans for Halloween weekend this year have a novel twist: coffin races.

BID executive director Diane Tucci pitched the idea to the town board this morning and board members loved it.

“This is cool,” Councilman John Dunleavy said.

Tucci said she believes the event will be as popular as the cardboard boat races have been. Coffin races originated in the Town of Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1994 as an event to boost tourism. It worked. The event, coupled with a parade, draws thousands each year to the central Colorado town.

But don’t expect the members of the town board to be wheeling the town supervisor in a homemade coffin in the race — an idea briefly bandied about at the meeting. The metaphor was just a bit too rich for a race taking place a few days before a local election. So there won’t likely be a “supervisor’s cup” heat in this race, though.

Each team will consist of five people: one to ride in the coffin and four to push it along the race course. The coffin must have four wheels and four handles. No ropes for pulling are allowed.

Tucci said the location of the race hasn’t yet been determined. Though it will be within the confines of the business improvement district, it may not be held on Main Street.

The coffin races are planned for Sunday afternoon, Oct. 29, the weekend before Halloween. The start time has not yet been set.

The Halloween parade will take place on Saturday night beginning at 6:30 p.m., Tucci said. Trick-or-treating downtown will go on from 2:30 to 4:30. The two-hour gap between trick-or-treating and the parade will allow families to get dinner downtown, where restaurants will offer family-friendly specials.

The Walk of Jack O’Lanterns will be back again this year, significantly boosted by the donation of 100 pumpkins by a local farmer, thanks to the efforts of Melissa Elkins of the Riverhead Lions Club, Tucci said. There will be community pumpkin-carving with the assistance of Girl Scouts, she said.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.