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New York Islanders Trick or Treat

by Dyan LeBourdais / New York Islanders
Halloween: the holiday centered around ghosts, goblins, witches and witchcraft has been part of the North American tradition for centuries. On October 31, people of all ages who have spent weeks getting creative with their costume, spend their day carving pumpkins. Then at night, they hit the streets for trick-or-treating, to attend costume parties or take a walk through haunted houses.

The Islanders European players, Michael Grabner (Austria), Frans Nielsen (Denmark), Milan Jurcina (Slovakia), and Mark Streit and Nino Niederreiter (Switzerland) said that Halloween isn’t celebrated in their home countries, but that didn’t stop each of them from dressing up at Sunday night’s team Halloween party.

Niederreiter and Streit had one of the best combination costumes of the night as they dressed up as the Super Mario Brothers.

Mark Streit and Nino Niederreiter dress up as the Super Mario Brothers for Halloween 2011.
“We wanted to do something together, so we were talking about Dumb and Dumber or the characters from Top Gun, Goose and Maverick,” Streit said. “But we went to the store, put the costumes on and it looked pretty funny, so we went as the Mario Brothers instead. It was fun.”

When asked if Niederreiter was getting a head start on Movember, he said he started growing out a moustache about a week in advance to make his Halloween costume more authentic.

“I wanted to look more like Mario so I was growing a little ‘stache, but I am planning on shaving it today,” Niederreiter said. “It gets a little itchy to be honest.”

Matt Martin said, “It just makes so much sense that they were Mario and Luigi.”

Martin and Travis Hamonic also teamed up for a themed costume, except theirs hit closer to home. They dressed up in the same gear teammates Matt Moulson and John Tavares wear around the rink on a game day.

Martin carried around Moulson’s iPad while wearing a JT91 hat sideways, workout pants, wrist bands and a back pack. Hamonic wore a JT91 hat, barefoot running shoes that hug your toes like gloves, a back pack and carried around a jug of protein powder.

Moulson dressed as the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland and said he had to sit through 45 minutes of make-up before looking perfect.

That kind of Halloween preparation takes dedication, something that kids can attest to when trying to make their costumes home made. Growing up, Tavares’ favorite costume was when he dressed as Batman, PA Parenteau’s was a cowboy. Martin and Kyle Okposo’s favorite costumes were when they dressed as Ninja Turtles.

But Halloween is also one of the holidays kids can be most expressive of themselves and who they want to be. So it’s only fitting that Al Montoya and Hamonic’s best trick-or-treat memories happened wearing hockey gear.

“The only time I remember not going as a hockey player was when I was about four,” Hamonic said. “I went as a clown and I hated it, I cried the whole time. I didn’t want to be in a clown suit.”

Hamonic continued, “Back in Winnipeg, at this time of year, it’s always freezing. So we’d have to make our costumes and I would have to wear my brother’s jerseys because he was five years older than me and it was the only one that would fit over my winter jacket and my tuque.”

Matt Moulson as the Mad Hatter, John Tavares as a cop, PA Parenteau as a Greek God for Halloween 2011.
Montoya said, “I would have to say my first costume that I can remember was a hockey player. I know it’s an easy one, but wearing it to school with skates and everything. I kept my skate guards on. That was the best.”

Halloween may be most fun for the dad’s on the team who get to take their young ones out trick-or-treating on Long Island on Monday night. Marty Reasoner’s kids dressed up as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, while Jay Pandolfo’s son is going as a Sesame Street character, perfect for a two-year-old.

“He is pretty excited,” Pandolfo said. “He’s Cookie Monster and he’s pretty fired up. It’s going to be fun to take him out today and take him around the neighborhood. We are going to go with Mottau’s kids and he’s got four, so it’ll be fun to take them out.”

Each of Mottau’s kids has a home-made costume. His son is a fireman, while his eldest daughter is going to be a movie star and got to put on big girl make-up for the first time. The youngest two are cupcakes, which were hand-crafted out of silver spray-painted lamp shades, pink shawls for frosting decorated with glitter for sprinkles and a red hat for a cherry on top.

Mottau said, “The kids are all excited. They have their costumes on in school today.”

Mottau can remember being just as excited as his kids were when they got ready for school Monday morning. His favorite Halloween was at age eight, when his mother made him an E.T. costume.

“It was awesome, but I got bit by a dog because the thing was afraid of me,” Mottau said. “I went to pat the thing, but my costume had stuffing in the fingers - you know ET had long fingers - and I was like ‘hey’ and the thing bit me in the leg.”

Bite or no bite, he still collected more than enough Halloween candy to live on a sugar high for weeks.

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