With Halloween rapidly approaching, South Brunswick's Skull Riders are ready to take off once again to benefit a local family in need. This year will be the 7th Halloween run of the Skull Riders, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts from throughout the area who dress up in costumes and decorate their bikes, before taking a run through South Brunswick to give out candy to kids along their route.
"This event is just a lot of fun, we get a lot of people dressing up," said Wendy Nagy, one of the organizers. "In the past we've had people dress up in costumes from Raggedy Ann and Andy, to the Grinch. We're also going to have a car show at Dayton Collision, so it should be a fun day."
Each year the registration fee participants pay is used to raise money for a family in need of assistance. However, the birth of the Skull Riders began more simply, according to creator Tom Dardani.
"It pretty much started off with me and a friend dressing up and driving around a hearse on Halloween with no particular mission," Dardani said. "We also do a haunted trail and hayride, so this was kind of a spinoff on that. It was just a way to kick back and enjoy ourselves, my way of getting out and doing something fun on Halloween. But I saw how the kids reacted and everyone seem to enjoy it. So we invited more people the next year and it pretty much progressed over the years."
The event took on a charitable component after taking their cue from other charity bike runs.
"Being a bike rider myself, and having attended other bike runs, most motorcycle riders by nature are generous type guys who like riding for a cause," Dardani said. "There's charity events all year long, and being that myself and others enjoyed the Halloween ride, we figured this would be a different spin to the charity run."
This year, the proceeds from the Skull Riders will be donated to the family of , a third grader at Greenbrook Elementary School who was diagnosed with brain cancer in December, 2010. Brandon needs to receive chemotherapy treatments at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City five times a week. The cost of transporting Brandon to chemotherapy treatments has been estimated at $500 each week.
The story of Brandon has inspired numerous fundraisers over the last year, with the and rallying around the Dominguez family.
"The biggest thing about the Skull Riders each year is knowing that we're helping a family who really needs it," Nagy said. "Brandon's family has a lot of expenses and they could use some help. That's why you see so many bikers come out and get dressed up, which is always just funny. Everybody is there for the same reason, to help out a family.”
Last year also added a car show to the event, which will be held this year at Dayton Collision on Route 130 South, which is also where the Skull Riders will begin and end their run.
"There's become this internal element of admiration for each other's costumes that has become a friendly competition over the years, with everybody trying to outdo each other with the costumes and being creative," Dardani said. "Everybody gets a big kick out of seeing the kids' reaction, and of course it raises money for a good cause."
The 7th Annual Skull Riders Charity Bike Run and Car Show will be held on Oct. 31, with registration from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The bike run starts at 6:30 p.m. The car show runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Registration costs $20 per rider, $10 per passenger and $20 per car.
There will be trophies and awards for the best costumes, in addition to food, and door prizes. Riders also will receive a t-shirt and bag of candy to hand out to kids along the Skull Riders run (Patch will post the route and times of the Skull Riders run when information becomes available).
Local businesses are needed for donations of either money or gift cards to use for raffle prizes.
"We look to keep expenses minimal so we can give as much money as we can to the family," Nagy said.
Anyone interested in donating should contact Nagy via email at email@example.com or by phone at 732-821-5784.
"A good cause is always at the forefront of what we do," Dardani said. "But there's no reason doing a charity event has to be a painful process. We have a good time with it."