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Mahwah Family Makes Halloween Count With 'Creepy Hollow'

The Ackerson Family collected a coffin-full of nonperishable goods for the Pushie Family to bring to a local pantry. Photo Credit: Vikki Ackerson
Charlie Ackerson hands out candy to trick-or-treaters. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
The Ackerson Family will hand their collected items off to the Pushie Family to deliver this week to a food pantry. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
The Ackerson Family poses in their haunted graveyard in Mahwah. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
The Ackersons make all of their Halloween decorations by hand. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
This skeleton plays the organ in the Ackerson's backyard. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
The Ackersons brought a teal pumpkin into their display this year for children with food allergies. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

MAHWAH, N.J. — If you peeked inside the black coffin at the intersection of W. Ramapo Avenue and Glasgow Terrace in Mahwah on Halloween night, you would’ve seen dozens of canned nonperishable goods.

The Ackerson Family in 2013 added the coffin to their annual Halloween display — “Creepy Hollow” — to help the Pushie Family in their “Hungry is Scary” food drive.

The family of five has collected more than six boxes worth of goods that the Pushies this week will deliver to a local pantry. Mahwah’s trick-or-treaters have been dropping off donations throughout the month.

“’Hungry is Scary’ asks teens who trick-or-treat to ask for a nonperishable food item instead of candy,” Vikki Ackerson said.

“I thought it would be really difficult for kids to carry all of those heavy cans while they’re out trick-or-treating so I called Mrs. Pushie and asked if we could set up a drop-off station.”

The Ackersons began the tradition in 2003 when they spent their first Halloween in years at home instead of visiting Disney World.

“Since we live on a busy street and don't get many trick-or-treaters, we decided to bring a little Halloween magic to our house,” Vikki Ackerson said.

Bill Ackerson quickly got to work on the tombstones and fortune-teller’s table that have grown to occupy their entire front yard and a portion of the back.

A new projector display this year joined spider webs, fog machines, graveyards, a caged head hanging from a basketball hoop, singing pumpkins and more.

They’ve also added a teal pumpkin to represent the nationwide campaign to provide nonfood-related giveaways for children with food allergies.

“What you see is what you get,” Ackerson said. “We’re big scaredy cats, so there are no gory or really scary props."

Ackerson makes sure she coughs or makes noise when she's coming outside of her home so she doesn't scare her visitors.

“It’s family-friendly," she said.

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