New Castle News

Most Popular on our Site

October 13, 2012

Photo Gallery, Story: Lifelong friends create Halloween display to fight breast cancer

NEW CASTLE — Most folks will buy a plot of land to build a home.

But when Tom “Mud” Fee purchased the lot next to his mother’s Loraine Avenue house last year, it was have a home to put his plots.

Fee and his lifelong buddy, Brian “Bart” Sizer, both 27, are the architects of the Croton Cemetery, a Halloween display of lights and sound, mist and the macabre that each year lures passers-by two blocks off Croton Avenue for a bit of spirited fun.

It all started in the yard of Fee’s childhood home with one coffin, a guillotine and a handful of headstones, but has grown annually as the two spend their own cash and off-hours building new displays each Halloween. It wasn’t long before the pair were expanding, with permission, into an adjoining lot.

Last year, the owner of that piece of ground wanted to sell, and Fee jumped on it like a vampire on a jugular.

“When it went up for sale, I said, ‘I can’t stop doing this,’ so I went and made a move on the property – just for Halloween,” the East Side resident said. “We’d had permission to use it before, but I didn’t want to take a chance on losing it.”

Included among all the carnage and creepiness are more body parts than you can shake a broomstick at, such as the ones browning nicely, thank you, on a charcoal grill right next to Frankenstein.

Still, there’s really only one part that is at the heart of the display. And it’s why the mix of graves and ghastliness is called “Haunting for Hooters.”

“We’ve been doing this for years,” Sizer said. “About three years ago, we started accepting donations. A lady came down and told us, ‘You should collect.’ We said, ‘Alright, but let’s donate it,’’ and it being October, we came up with breast cancer.”

Last year, the pair said, they donated $350, adding that they’re already off to “a good start” this year. The display – complete with Fee, Sizer and a few friends adding a live ghoulish component – is open for viewing from 7 to 10 p.m. every night during October. A donation box is on a post near the eastern end.

The two say they take about a month-and-a-half building and organizing the display, and two days to set it all up.

“Two days, with a lot of help — family, neighborhood friends,” Sizer said. “The cemetery probably takes the longest to get up with all the tombstones to put in the ground.”

Set construction is done “after work, weekends — from when we wake up to dark,” noted Fee, whose mother-in-law is a breast cancer survivor. “We do everything in Brian’s garage. He has all the tools and everything, then we bring it down here and we set it up.

“Storage is the big thing. Last year, we had to rent space to have room for it all.”

Though the street generally is quiet, Fee said, neighbors don’t seem to mind the nightly parade of cars and screams. One family, he added, actually sets up lawn chairs across the street from the cemetery to watch the fun.

The whole thing builds to a climax on Halloween, “when it’s just out of control,” Fee said. “Cars up and down the whole street, and kids everywhere.”

So what happens when October finally turns to November?

“People have said we should do Christmas,” Fee said. “But I don’t think so.”

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)

 

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Most Popular on our Site
  • Warner.jpg Replica of first Warner theater set for downtown

    A replica of the first Warner brothers theater is expected to open in February at Cascade Center at the Riverplex A partnership has been reached between Jerry Kern, president of Warner Film Center, and Dr. Andrew Matta, chief executive officer of Refresh Dental Partners.

    April 4, 2013 1 Photo

  • Hooker.tiff Hooker's dunk earns ESPN Top 10 spot

    Wow! That was the collective response among the more than 2,000 who crammed into Williamsport High last night.

    March 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Jaleesa.jpg March Madness: Former Lady ’Canes’ star battling illness head-on

    Jaleesa Sams knew something was terribly wrong. But the former New Castle High School and North Carolina A&T basketball star prides herself in having a high tolerance for pain. Even when she was throwing up and too fatigued to get off the couch, Sams was determined to tough it out.

    March 19, 2013 1 Photo

  • school.jpg Education Options, Part 2: Current shale boom casts new light on county’s economic future

    Second of two parts: Welcome to the Industrial Revolution of 2013. The Marcellus Shale phenomenon has arrived with the promise of jobs and prosperity for an area in dire need of just such a miracle.

    February 25, 2013 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Ben.tiff Big Ben announces K-9 grant for New Castle

    New Castle’s police department has received a grant from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation to add to its K-9 unit. The $8,000 grant will be used to buy a dog, either trained or untrained, and a safety vest for the canine. If the dog requires training, the grant covers that cost.

    February 9, 2013 1 Photo

  • Kola4.jpg Photos, Story: Lost dog finds way back home, thanks to good Samaritan

    Joe Henry had all but given up. For three days he searched for Kola, the beloved 15-year-old shepherd/labrador retriever mix that he had raised from a puppy.

    February 6, 2013 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Rapone.jpg Pro Football: New Castle native Nick Rapone ready for his chance in the NFL

    Thirty years ago, almost to the day, Nick Rapone got a call from Bruce Arians. “Hey, Nick,” Arians said to his old college football teammate, “Let’s go to Temple.” And so Rapone packed his bags and left East Tennessee State University to begin a journey that came full circle late last week with another phone call and some familiar — not to mention life-changing — words from his fellow Virginia Tech alumni.

    January 23, 2013 1 Photo

  • YDC.jpg YDC Closing: More than 200 employees will be affected by state’s decision

    The New Castle Youth Development Center is closing. Gov. Tom Corbett announced Tuesday the facility, in operation for approximately 45 years off Frew Mill Road in Shenango Township, will close Feb. 15.

    January 16, 2013 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Donor gives a record $7 million to Westminster College

    Westminster College has received the largest gift in its 160-year history. The school is the beneficiary of a $7 million bequest from Helen Louise Lemmon. The gift will be used to endow The Lemmon Family Scholarship for students seeking careers in the sciences.

    January 9, 2013 1 Photo

  • money.jpg Your Tax Money: Salary board gives county employees raises

    Voting to give the raises at Monday’s board meeting were the three commissioners — Dan Vogler, Steve Craig and Bob Del Signore — and Controller David Gettings. President Judge Dominick Motto cast the fifth vote for matters concerning the courts.
     

    January 8, 2013 1 Photo 1 Story

House Ads
Poll

Where can you get the best ice cream cone this summer?

Forbush
Handel's
Bruster's
Dairy Queen
     View Results