Halloween isn't going to be quite the same in New York City this year—there's no Halloween Parade, the beloved dog costume contests have become streaming events, and trick-or-treating will be a little different. But thankfully, at least one NYC tradition is still going strong: the most impressive Halloween house in Brooklyn is up and running with all the usual creepy clowns, spooky skeletons, and over-the-top displays that have made it one of the most popular Halloween destinations in NYC.
Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, who owns the Prospect Park South house, told Gothamist that he almost didn't put together the full display this year because he was nervous about giving people a place to congregate without masks. "A lot of people gather on the lawn, and the last thing I wanted was to become a COVID hotspot," he said. "But then I kept running into neighbors who kept saying, 'We can't wait for the decorations this year!' and 'The kids won't stop talking about the Halloween House and asking when it'll be up!' So I was like, oh crap, how's this gonna work?"
So in addition to the normal decorations, he also added lots of signage around the grounds asking people to wear their masks and keep six feet apart. "And amazingly, everyone has been respecting the rules so far," he noted.
Already, it's become clear that people around the area are even more appreciative than normal about his efforts: "This is also the first year we've gotten notes and cards slipped in the mail slot thanking us, and saying things like, 'This is exactly what we needed this year. Thank you for the joy,'" he said. "Which is really nice. I honestly had no idea that it meant that much to people."
Located at the corner of Albemarle and Argyle, this Halloween house has always stood out as the most decorated home in a neighborhood that is proudly pro-Halloween decorations, and is perhaps even more so this year, with some families skipping out on doing it up fully. There are skeletons climbing the turret; dead bodies and other creatures buried in the front yard; witches and jack o'lantern ghouls taking up all the room on the porch; creepy dolls and giant spider webs; and of course, ridiculous homemade clown paintings. When night comes, video projections of ghosts and spirits appear in the windows up above. And many of the other creatures come to animatronic life as well, with plenty of creepy noises to boot.
Lindsay-Abaire previously told us that he and his wife Chris started decorating the house in 2013 as part of the PPS Halloween Parade. "So I got some string lights, a lot of webbing, and my first few animatronic monsters," he said of that first year. "Every year after that, I’d get a couple more zombies, or a new witch, and the collection would grow. Five years in, and the porch is so populated that I’ve had to expand to the upper floors."
The clown paintings come courtesy of a friend who is an actual clown, and his favorite part of the house are the skeletons climbing the walls: "I spend a lot of time crawling onto the roof of the porch, reaching on tiptoes or leaning out of windows."
He added a few new monsters this year, but other than the signage, there is nothing else COVID-related. "It just didn't feel right to, say, put masks on all the zombies," he said. "I think people like NOT thinking about coronavirus for the ten minutes they walk around the house."
And Lindsay-Abaire has noticed that despite the pandemic—perhaps because people are looking for outdoor entertainment more than ever—there has been a higher amount of foot traffic than previous years: "I don't know if that's because the word is spreading about the decorations, or people are just a little more desperate to be distracted by creepy clowns this year. I suspect it's a combination."