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Wellness director’s house thrills and chills

As the years go on, and people get older, the spirit of Halloween leaves them. Too old to trick-or-treat, most college students and adults celebrate Halloween by having costume parties and getting drunk. One of the few exceptions to this rule is displayed proudly by Ann DeGennaro, director of Campus Wellness.

For the past eight years, DeGennaro has decorated her house in the most extravagant and spooky way possible.

“As a kid, I always said that when I grow up, I’m going to decorate the coolest house in the neighborhood!” DeGennaro said. And by the looks of it, she accomplished her childhood wish.

DeGennaro’s house on Lochatong Road in Ewing was crawling with monsters Halloween night. A man who resembled Alice Cooper was coupled with his skeleton bride. And a dead druid skulked the locals waving a stiff, old rat asking, “Would you like to pet my rat? He’s already dead!” This monster mash was headed by a gnarled, old witch who crept from group to group to give a good scare. That crazy witch was DeGennaro.

The front lawn was divided into three primary sections. One was the cemetery, which contained various “monsters,” and an animatronic, motion-censored skeleton that popped from a coffin to scare trick-or-treaters. Another section was reserved for small children. Music, games and prizes were offered as an alternative to the scary walkthroughs.

“I want to take the fear out of Halloween (for kids),” DeGennaro said. Her prizes included chocolate “eyeballs” and witch’s warts.

The third and final section was the cr?me de la cr?me of the attraction. A giant spaceship was crafted over DeGennaro’s garage. Those brave enough to walk inside interrupted an alien autopsy of a human. Bloody, rubber guts were spread about the body as a green alien prodded them with a fork. Classic! This is the area that is reconstructed every year.

“Everything is handmade,” DeGennaro said, explaining that friends and family helped out with the decorating and scaring.

The decorating takes a few weeks, but because of the inclement weather, most of the final details were completed just hours before dark Monday night.

Parking was backed up on both sides of the street near DeGennaro’s house. Kids, parents and teens ran amuck between the various funhouses. Festive music played in the background. It seemed everyone from the community came to check out DeGennaro’s creations.

“I want it to be about community and the gathering of people to enjoy a brief moment of what I think Halloween is all about,” DeGennaro said.

DeGennaro encourages people of all ages to check out her new decorations, and meet her “monsters” when Halloween rolls around next year.One thing is for sure, thanks to Ann DeGennaro, the spirit of Halloween still lives in Ewing.


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