Halloweeners dodge rain drops to gather sweet treats

bmilazzo@centredaily.comNovember 1, 2013 

— Screams could be heard from a Quail Run Road residence Halloween night.

“Somebody help me, he’s got me,” yelled Estell Rojas, who was locked inside a makeshift jail in the garage of her home. “Please help free me,” she continued to yell.

Trick-or-treaters entered the Rojas residence not knowing what to expect in the garage made in the theme of “Dining with the Dead Ones,” said Estell Rojas’ husband, William Rojas. A sign nailed above the garage said, “Enter at your own risk” as William Rojas greeted visitors dressed as a two-headed butler.

The Rojas’ lawn was made into a graveyard. In their garage was an entire set up with friends and family dressed up and acting in character attempting to scare visitors.

William Rojas’ brother John Rojas was at a counter dressed like butcher pretending to chop up body parts and threatening to serve them to guests. At another table at the back of the garage were William Rojas’ niece and nephew Angie Zayas and her brother Willy Zayas, 16, and friend Nate Reid who all looked like zombies. All you could see was their head on a plate, as the rest of their bodies were tucked, presumably, under the table.

Angie Zayas said it took about two hours to put on her face makeup to look the part.

However in observance of a skittish child, their tune changed to a friendly welcome, despite the generally scary costumes.

Brayden Musico, 6, stopped at the entrance of the garage, before his mother Lori Musico encouraged him to check it out. Slowly he walked in when William Rojas offered Brayden a piece of candy.

For the Rojas family, taking Halloween to the next level is a tradition.

“We do it every year. This is our 10th year and we always come up with a different theme,” William Rojas said.

Past themes included zombies, “Frankenstein” and “Ghostbusters.”

William Rojas said his family moved to the Centre Region 18 years ago from Brooklyn. They wanted to bring something to the neighborhood that included everyone.

“We first started with putting up tombstones and dressing like Dracula or something, but once we found we were getting more kids trick-or-treating each year, we began to make it a bigger event,” William Rojas said.

In the last few Halloweens, about 125 people have visited their home for frights and goodies, he said. On Halloween, each child walked away with a candy bag and a glow stick.

“It comes from enjoyment,” William Rojas said. “We don’t have kids, so we do this for the kids.”

Their home was decorated at least three weeks ago. By 9 p.m. Thursday, the celebration stopped, and the family began talking down decorations to be stored back in the attic. The cleanup process will take a few days, William Rojas said.

And by this weekend, William Rojas said he will hold family conversations regarding next years theme, which he hopes will be “dancing skeletons” or a Michael Jackson “Thriller” theme.

Ben Salinas, who lives across the street, said he’s glad the couple “go all out.”

“It’s nice to see someone can put a lot of effort into something that gets a really good response,” Salinas said. “If you think this is good, you have to see what they do for Christmas.”

William Rojas said by Thanksgiving, he will turn his house into a winter wonderland and hold a gathering for friends and family.

Salinas was dressed as a doctor with a severed hand and walked for a part of the time with his daughter Emma Salinas, 9, who was dressed as a witch.

Down the street, Tim Riefel was dressed as Tigger as he handed out candy to trick-or-treaters.

“We’ve gotten a nice turnout so far despite the rain,” he said.

It drizzled most of the night between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. during most of the Centre Region’s designated trick-or-treat times, but neighborhoods around the Centre Region saw a steady turnout of trick-or-treaters.

Jon Malcos took out his daughter Emberlie out for the first time. Emberlie, 18 months old, was dressed as a lion, as Malcos attempted to have her roar like a lion at each house.

“It’s nice to take her out,” he said. “We’re with a bunch of other people. We’re having a nice time.”

Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @ M11azzo.

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