New Castle News

Closer Look

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
Closer Look
  • Local pastor helping fire victims

    A local pastor is opening up donation avenues to help two families who lost their homes to fire this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • First Energy to replace transmission line

    FirstEnergy Corp. has plans to rebuild a power transmission line between the West Pittsburg plant and a Mahoningtown substation.

    April 18, 2014

  • school.jpg Union to return assistant principal post

    The Union Area School District will have a new administrator when the 2014-15 school year starts. The board voted 8-0 Wednesday night to hire an assistant principal. Debra Allebach was absent.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Calen.tiff Callen gets state honors

    Robert Callen has been selected to receive a state award for his contribution to local government in Pennsylvania. Callen, 58, executive director of the Lawrence County Regional Council of Governments, received the Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bobosky.jpg Gas holdouts unconvinced of safety

    When Suzanne Matteo and her husband, Martin, bought their house on four acres in Pulaski Township they had a plan. They would grow a huge vegetable garden, raise lots of flowers and a few chickens and enjoy the fresh air and quiet.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Miller.jpg Wilmington superintendent discusses common core

    The Wilmington district has no reason to fear new Pennsylvania Core standards, superintendent Dr. Michelle Miller said. She talked about the standards to approximately two dozen residents at the school board’s monthly pre-meeting Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shreck.tiff Schreck reappointed Shenango superintendent

    Dr. Michael Schreck has been reappointed as Shenango’s superintendent for a five-year term. The school board approved his reappointment by an 8-0 vote Monday. Nicholas Manolis was absent.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • vote.jpg Congressional candidate disqualified

    Commonwealth Court has removed a Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District seat from the May 20 primary ballot. Judge Bernard L. McGinley has invalidated the nomination petitions of Mel A. Marin of Sharon.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Up through the ground comes education cash

    Democrats running for governor seem to be competing to convince voters they will dip deepest into the pockets of gas drillers to replace $1 billion that Gov. Tom Corbett has cut from education spending.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Shenango passes tax abatement

    Shenango Township supervisors unanimously approved a tax abatement for Blackwatch Properties LLC when they met Thursday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content
Section Teases
Must Read
Continuous Super Bowl Coverage