New Castle News

Community Events

October 20, 2012

Santino’s Spookfest: Union teen turns family’s house, yard into Halloween attraction

NEW CASTLE — Santino Ferrese is obsessed with Halloween. He has been since he was three years old.

It was around then that he first saw the classic movie “Frankenstein.” That film so captured the young boy’s imagination that he has been enthralled with monsters, horror movies and, by extension, all things Halloween ever since.

His love and obsession was so strong that at 10 years old, he went to his parents with a hand-drawn pencil sketch of the floor plan of his house, showing how he intended to horrify each room for his own haunted house.

Needless to say, his parents were not as enthusiastic about the idea as young Santino was, but after some begging, they agreed to allow him to turn the breezeway and back porch into a small haunt for his friends in the neighborhood.

That initial haunt now has become an annual tradition. Six years later, 16-year-old Ferrese has gotten his wish. Not only has he taken over most of his house, but he has added several outbuildings and temporary structures as well.

The walk-through haunt is full of monsters, original artworks and designs, black lights, fog machines, lasers, sound effects and good old-fashioned, make-you-jump scares. It is manned by 25 to 30 of his friends wearing costumes and make-up he designed himself.

Ferrese’s make-up skills are in high demand. In addition to his own haunt, Ferrese is designing the make-up for another local haunted house as well.

Perhaps most impressive are the original masks that Ferrese designs, molds, constructs, pours and paints himself. The final product rivals anything seen on the shelves of  local Halloween stores.

When Ferrese first began his haunt project, it was meant for his own neighborhood and ran for a night or two.

Today, the haunt draws visitors from all over, with as many as 400 or 500 people making the trek through.

Ferrese says the construction, which this year included covering the the entire face of his home with pallets to give it a spooky, run-down look, began in early September.

The design and planning for next year is already underway.

“I work on costumes and and ideas throughout the year,” Ferrese said. “I already know what next year’s theme will be.”

“Everything is new every year,” he went on. “We incorporate some things as a nod to the past, but every room and scare is a new design each Halloween.”

The haunt, located at 135 S. Lee St. in Union Township, opens today. There is no charge, and everyone is welcome. Hours are 8 to 11 p.m. today and tomorrow, and Oct. 25-31.

Ferrese can’t say enough about how much he appreciates his parents, who not only give up their house for this, but also help in the construction and design. He also credits his neighbors, who take the crowds of screaming kids in stride.

Ferrese said the event costs him around $1,000 every year. It’s worth it, though,  just for the fun he has designing and building it, and the great time his visitors have going through it.

“If you are looking for somewhere to go and something to do that’s fun and safe, come to the haunt.” Ferrese said, “It;s a great time and the best place to be.”

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community Events
  • Comcast Cares Day to aid local charity

    Comcast employees will spend a day assisting a local charity. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lawrence County will be the recipient of support April 26 from Comcast Cares Day.

    April 15, 2014

  • Class of 1950 to hold reunion

    New Castle High School’s class of 1950 is planning a reunion for May 3. There will be a buffet luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Crane Room, 3009 Wilmington Road.

    April 1, 2014

  • Seedling sale deadline nears

    The deadline for tree seedling and plant orders from the Lawrence County Conservation District sale is Friday.

    April 1, 2014

  • Veterans health fair set at courthouse

    A veterans health fair has been scheduled for Friday. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the lower level of the Lawrence County courthouse.

    April 1, 2014

  • Fundraiser set for canine vests

    A Night at the Races has been set to raise money for equipping local police dogs with protective vests. Organizers said the effort was inspired by January’s death of Rocco, a Pittsburgh canine officer who was fatally stabbed by a suspect police were arresting.

    March 31, 2014

  • 1 NC 1881(1).jpg Parade to honor state champion ’Canes

    New Castle will have the opportunity to celebrate its championship basketball team once again this week. The city and school district are co-hosting a downtown parade Thursday in honor of New Castle High’s Red Hurricane basketball team.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Red Cross offers gift with blood donation

    The American Red Cross is offering a gift to people who donate blood this week. While supplies last, donors will receive a Red Cross tote bag as part of the Red Cross Month observation in March.

    March 25, 2014

  • Veterans’ questions answered

    Answers to Veterans Administration and other benefits will be available March 27 at the office of State Rep. Chris Sainato.

    March 20, 2014

  • League meeting on agriculture set

    The League of Women Voters of Lawrence County will continue discussion of its agriculture study next week.

    March 14, 2014

  • Neighborhood watch group meets Thursday

    There will be a meeting of the North Hill Neighborhood Watch on Thursday. The group will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the New Castle High School auditorium.

    March 14, 2014

House Ads
Poll

Beginning tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL playoffs. So, who ya got? And in how many games?

Penguins, in five games or fewer. Too much firepower for the Blue Jackets, especially if Evgeni Malkin is ready to go.
Penguins, in six or seven games. It’s a pretty even matchup on defense, but Pittsburgh will grind it out.
Blue Jackets, in five games or fewer. Sergei Bobrovsky in goal for the Blue Jackets spells trouble for the Pens.
Blue Jackets, in six or seven games. Bobrovsky gives Columbus the edge, but it won’t be easy.
     View Results