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Frightening scenes in Massapequa

Lauren Foschino, 19, right, along with Jill Montario,

Lauren Foschino, 19, right, along with Jill Montario, 47, Nicholas Bonfiglio, 13, all of Massapequa, take their first trip through "Darkness Rising," a warehouse haunt on Brooklyn Avenue. (Oct. 7, 2011) Credit: T.C. McCarthy

With her hands shielding her face and her heart racing, Lauren Foschino, 19, and her friends journeyed through Massapequa’s new haunted warehouse, “Darkness Rising.”

“My favorite part probably was the darkest rooms where I didn’t know what was going to pop out at me,” said Foschino, of Massapequa.

This was her first experience with fellow volunteers, and she did not know what to expect. At one point, she found herself crawling on the floor trying to avoid a claustrophobic hallway.

“Darkness Rising” is a collaborative effort by Frank Baird, 57; his son, Kevin Baird, 20, and James Kennedy, 39, of Nesconset. Pulling together resources and sponsors, the men managed to create a detailed and finely tweaked haunted warehouse.

The tradition of hosting a haunted house started in Baird’s family garage when he transformed it for his then fourth-grade son. It has since grown into the Massapequa Fire Department’s warehouse as the crowds came back for a bigger and better scare each year.

“We use what I call extreme and technical scaring,” said Kennedy, who acts as a puppet master behind the trapdoors, scents and audio effects. For him it’s “all about sounds and smells.”

Kevin Baird, a film and video student of Five Towns College, used Disney- and Universal Studio-inspired details in designing the event.

“It was great. I jumped, I screamed, I was scared at some point, but it’s something everybody’s got to do once -- go through a haunted house,” Jill Montario, 47, said.

Proceeds from the haunted warehouse will be donated to two charities -- the Yes Community Counseling Center, which counsels youth, and the Heather Pendergast Fund, named after Massapequa firefighter Tom Pendergast’s daughter. The fund helps children of firefighters who have life-threatening diseases.


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