Halloween is just around the corner. But for some avid fans of the thrill-filled holiday, the preparation starts much earlier. And it means just more than watching horror flicks and dressing up.
Rocco and Domenico Lombardo, of Bensonhurst, fit that mold. For the fifth year, the brothers, with the help of 22 friends and family, have constructed a Halloween walkthrough inside the home as well as decorating the exterior.
“I just love Halloween,” said Rocco. “The difference of the holiday. The darkness. The movies. You can do whatever you want.”
The process is long. Lombardo spends a couple of weeks putting the finishing touches on the outside of the house, taking about a month to turn it into a haunted one. Every year, the theme varies, from Freddy Kruger to clowns.
Included are seven rooms, a canopy in the driveway, and people dressed up as iconic horror movie characters while visitors wait to enter the home. “We own a construction company (R. Lombardo Constructions) and we build pretty much everything,” he explained.
The tradition started after the death of a friend’s family, who used to put together something similar. “I have a lot of friends that wanted me to throw a Halloween party. I started buying stuff, and he asked, ‘why don’t you do a walkthrough?’ And I did. I would say 300 people came through and we collected about $500. After that, it just kept getting better and better,” said Lombardo.
Admission is free but a donation is greatly encouraged since it’s all for charity. Two years ago, it was the American Cancer Society that benefited. And last year, their biggest turnout yet, was for Superstorm Sandy victims. After the event was postponed for two days, 700 people gathered outside the home for the thrills and chills, and an impressive $1,800 was collected.
This year, the cause is even more personal, as Lombardo’s cousin has been diagnosed with Epidermolysis Bullosa. All the money received this year will be given to help raise awareness for the skin disease.
The walk-through will be held at 2120 72nd Street at 7 p.m. on Halloween night, October 31.
But, the Lombardo home isn’t the only one in the area to scare up crowds for the season.
Dominick Lagonigro is also a big Halloween fan and goes full out at his house on Bay 20th Street once the 31st approaches. “I’m a horror freak. I’ve always been. I’ve been doing this for 10 years,” said Lagonigro.
Every year, the exterior of his home displays different themes. Last year, he was inspired by “Children of The Corn.” This time around, Lagonigro decided to make zombies his theme. Although they are currently widely popular, Lagonigro’s look completely unique. This is likely because he makes sure that everything he puts up is custom made.
“I bought all the stuffing; I spray painted and decorated the bodies. I also bought the clothes at a flea market and tore them up,” he said. Sticking out of the mouths of these custom made zombies is stuffing decorated as brains.
Lagonigro thinks about what theme to choose all year long (He already has next year planned as little girls on swings). Perhaps more eager to see what he comes up are neighbors. “Kids stop, cars stop.”
The biggest thrill for Lagonigro was to have his home featured on a Japan news channel last year. “It was great. It wasn’t just a two-minute thing either. It was a full feature.”
Although he loves Halloween, Lagonigro’s passion for decorating doesn’t stop there. “You should be here for Christmas. I go all out for it. I have snowflakes and a Santa.”