It’s no secret — Long Island loves Halloween. Homes throughout both Nassau and Suffolk get decorated to the hilt drawing hundreds of viewers throughout the month of October. Here are five houses that go above and beyond to "BOO!" you:
Tony Ocasio, 55, of Farmingville has created a cemetery in his front yard featuring 20 skeletons doing different activities accompanied by multicolored flood lights, a fog machine and a stereo system playing sound effects and eerie music.
"We do it for the kids in the neighborhood," says Ocasio. "I get all the satisfaction in the world seeing the expressions on their faces."
This season, Ocasio will get married in the cemetery scene in his front yard dressed in a black suit with a bat shaped bow tie. "I’m going to put some light gray paint on my face and blacken out my eyes so I look like a skeleton," says Ocasio. "It should be pretty funky."
LOCATION 5 Mount Pyramid Ave., Farmingville
SMOKING CALDRONS IN SELDEN
Halloween is a special holiday for Dustin Zabinsky of Selden because it’s the day he proposed to his wife, April.
"I dressed up in a gorilla suit and came to her door with all my friends and family in costume like a bunch of trick or treaters," says Zabinsky, 44. "I was holding a little orange pumpkin with the ring inside."
Today, the couple lives in Selden with their 13-year-old daughter and every Halloween, he decorates the front lawn with a variety of handmade props such as a large lizard, a witch over a smoking caldron, an evil clown and a caged bear. This year he made a 16-foot-wide bat, which sits on his roof.
"I put hinges on the wings so they can flap," says Zabinsky. "I always have a lot of crazy ideas running through my head so it’s not hard to come up with things."
LOCATION 67 Biscayne Drive, Selden
EARTH TO GREAT NECK
Mischievous behavior from some squirrels began Stan Levine’s Halloween decorating hobby at his Great Neck home.
"We started with some real pumpkins but the squirrels kept eating them, so we bought foam ones. Our decorating grew a little bit each year until it became this big display," says Levine, 53. "Once people started enjoying it and giving me compliments, I just kept going."
Today, Levine fully decorates his family’s entire front yard to the left and the right of the walkway leading up to his house. "I build all my own decorations because I can’t get what I want in stores anymore," says Levine. "It’s kind of like constructing a set for a play."
This year, Levine has a battle scene between aliens and evil pumpkin people, a pirate ship wrapped in monster tentacles, skeletons climbing the walls, a man-eating plant and an 11-foot spider on his roof.
"When people drive by, you can see them reduce to a slow crawl so they can take in the scene or shoot some pictures," says Levine. "I always try to top the previous year. So far, I’ve managed to do it."
LOCATION 1 Highland Ave., Great Neck
PIRATES IN EAST MEADOW
Charlie Sparkowski, 53, of East Meadow never got a chance to decorate for Christmas, so he made up for it with an alternate holiday.
"I thought let’s do something different and decorate for Halloween," he says.
But, Sparkowski finds a lot of the store-bought Halloween decorations "cheesy," he says, so he started making his own.
"I hand-carve tombstones," he says. "I even built my own bodies and put costumes on them."
His display includes multiple skeletons, evil monks, zombies coming out of a grave, plus a pirate ship on top of his breezeway with pirate jail underneath. In his garage, he features a haunted band including a witch, Frankenstein, a headless bride and a ghoul.
"I try to keep it as kid friendly as I can," says Sparkowski. "There’s not a lot of blood or gore."
On Halloween night, Sparkowski hangs out in his driveway roasting marshmallows taking in the reactions. "I love hearing the laughter and the comments like, ‘That’s different and that’s new.’ " he says. "Despite everything that’s going on with the pandemic, we can still have a good time and enjoy ourselves in a safe way."
LOCATION 130 Taylor Ave., East Meadow
EXPANSION IN LEVITTOWN
Larry Blauvelt of Levittown grew up loving Halloween with passion.
"Halloween for me is such an American holiday," says Blauvelt, 68. "Carving a pumpkin with my family is almost like decorating a Christmas tree."
Every year, his home is Halloween central with more than 75 props on his lawn including handmade gravestones, a 12-foot pumpkin king, a crank ghost that floats, a vampire in a coffin, a skeleton horse and more. He even went as far as to extend his decorations next door.
"I moved an entire pirate scene on my neighbor’s front lawn," he says. "They love it!"
Every year on Halloween he holds a house party and his outdoor display draws over 500 people.
"I want people to get a good feeling about Halloween," says Blauvelt. "It’s a day to make believe and do something different."
LOCATION 59 Barrister Road, Levittown