Screams and flashing lights filled Norbay Street in Franklin Square on the evening of Nov. 4. They weren’t shouts of anger following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy or shouts of joy for the return of power, but rather a lot celebration of an 18-year-old tradition.
Joe Allocco and his family have hosted a haunted house every year and give the donations they receive to autism and cerebral palsy awareness. The event usually happens on Halloween night, but with most of Franklin Square and Long Island powerless, Allocco had no hope of hosting the event.
Allocco began building the structure that stands next to his home in July, the structure surprisingly survived Sandy’s winds with little damage. If he had power back, Allocco promised neighbors and friends that he would try to host the beloved tradition that following weekend. The neighborhood was also prepared to lend generators if necessary.
Norbay Street got power back on Nov. 2 and Allocco set out getting the haunted house ready for its late debut. “I didn’t want everybody to miss out,” he said. “I want these kids to enjoy something.”
The haunted house was up and running Sunday night as people slowly trickled in on foot. Last year, Allocco had 2,000 visitors, some from out of state. This year, people didn’t want to use gas if they didn’t have to, so they made the trip on foot. Allocco said he only got 350 people but would open the house again in a heartbeat. “A lot of people still don’t have electricity, they have nothing to do,” he said. “It’s something for them to do to get their minds off everything.”
His father, Emilio Alloco echoed his thoughts. “They’re all going through so much,” Emilio said. “We’ve go to do something for this community.”
Children and parents seemed to welcome the distraction from the hurricane’s aftermath. Michael Faraone, who has been working 16-hour days for Long Island Power Authrotity, brought his son and daughter to the haunted house for the first time. His children took off running at the site of friends they hadn’t seen in days since the storm. “It brings stuff together,” Faraone said. “It’s a bit of normalcy.”