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Danielle Burfine wanted to do something nice for her son Austin who had failed to hang out with friends, go to the swimming pool, write the cue in his pool league, and all the other things that suddenly disappeared from his life due to the COVID-19 pandemic .
“This year has been really tough for him,” said Burfine of her 14-year-old son with special needs.
As summer passed and autumn drew closer, however, Burfine knew what could lift her son’s spirits – the family’s lavish annual Halloween celebration and exhibition set up in the front yard of their home at 1450 Emory Street in the Rose Garden District of San Jose .
It was only this year that she decided to grow taller than ever to make not only her son’s face smile, but that of her neighbors and other visitors as well.
“We think everyone could use a smile,” she says.
Instead of waiting for October, she brought out the first decorations on September 5th. Austin helped his family, including father Andrew and sister Jazmyne, build everything. This year’s Spuk is a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior program as well as a fundraiser. And the spectacle that runs through Halloween includes a night for special needs, scheduled for October 3rd from 5pm to 9pm.
Visitors will find a huge haunted festival where monsters, pirates, Disney characters and the creepy things of the night come together to say “Boo!” to everyone who comes by. The animatronic creatures actually speak and move, triggered by triggers when people walk by on the sidewalk.
“I wanted it to be interactive. But I wanted it to be safe, ”says Burfine. “Everything is step-pad activated so that the children don’t have to touch anything. It’s coronavirus safe. “
Attractions range from a life-size evil clown – who says, “Oh, Halloween is so scary” when you step on the pad in front of it – to a skeleton pirate captain with a creepy parrot on his bony shoulder. Snoopy and Minnie Mouse mix in one area with Jack Skellington and Sally and – what’s that?
“This is Poppy from ‘Trolls’ riding the reindeer from ‘Frozen’,” says Burfine.
You’ll also see Chucky from “Child’s Play” behind the wheel of a BMW, though Austin isn’t a fan of the famous killer doll.
“Austin doesn’t like Chucky,” says Burfine, “but he’s a killer clown for Halloween.”
“That’s not Chucky,” Austin replies.
The background for the entire display is the Tudor house of the Burfines picture book, which offers the Halloween characters an almost fairytale backdrop.
“I always tell people to look for a really big Lord of the Rings house,” says Burfine. “It looks like a hobbit’s house.”
On November 1st, the Halloween decorations will be packed away and replaced with a Thanksgiving display – shortly afterwards the big Christmas show will follow. Burfine grins as she says, “I have the same amount of Christmas things.”