MAHWAH, N.J. -- Halloween comes early every year for one particular Mahwah family. Well, at least planning for it does.
Victoria and Bill Ackerson create a Halloween display each year at their home, located at the intersection of West Ramapo Avenue and Glasgow Terrace.
The tradition started in 2003, and the display includes skeletons, coffins, tombstones, singing pumpkins, cobwebs and creepy contraptions. Nearly all of the displays are handmade by the family, including the children.
“We start putting it up around the last weekend in September, and it takes about a week to put up,’’ Bill said. “Then we need a week to tweak it.”
The Ackersons add to their display every year, taking ideas conceived by the children and creating a prop. “It’s not gory or scary,’’ Bill said. “Nothing pops out at you. We use lighting and imagination to make people scared, and it works.”
Bill, who works for the Department of Public Works in Ramsey, said the family holds down costs by scouring websites for inexpensive ideas to add to the display. “I like that the kids help a lot,’’ said Bill, whose family includes a 14-year-old boy and two daughters, ages 9 and 7. “It’s teaching them building skills, and they love doing it.”
The family also keeps neighbors in mind. The Ackerson’s shut down the display at 10 p.m., even on Halloween night. “If you’re not here by 10 p.m.,’’ Bill said, “it’s too late.”
Last year, the family added another community component by collecting for a food drive. Visitors to the Ackerson’s Halloween fun filled a coffin with nonperishable items for the ‘’Hungry is Scary” food drive, which was organized by Sharon Pushie and her family, also of Mahwah.
Bill said the family added an organist and dancing skeletons last year, and this year is adding spooky trees. He is busy repairing items and getting the pieces of the display together. In a little more than a month, Mahwah Halloween enthusiasts will come calling again to step among the skeletons in the Ackerson’s yard.
“We’re anxious,’’ Bill said. “The kids are really excited to get going. I think this one might be our best one yet.”
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