Is 564 Barron Avenue the scariest Halloween house in Woodbridge?
If it's not, it should be. There is little Ted Geardino hasn't done to the family home to celebrate the spooky holiday spirit. Every October 31st is truly his time of the year.
"I've been doing this for 13 years," said Geardino, a man of few words, but with a lot of Halloween cheer.
The home, located near Woodbridge Middle School, is a pretty, comfortable home that turns into a haunted Halloween mansion every year, courtesy of Ted. There are coffins with skeletons, a hanging pirate, a convict being electrocuted out back near the garage, and various ghouls hanging out the attic windows to the effect of strobe lighting.
Even the house number changes from 564 to a creepy "1313" on the fake columns by the stairs.
The front yard turns into a total cemetery, with burial plots devoted to "Virginia Hamm" and a dearly beloved (and now departed) wife or two, and more than a few miscellaneous body parts.
Cathy Salamon-Geardino, the lady of the house, isn't nearly the Halloween fanatic her husband is. But she's learned to make peace with it.
"I tell him he can't put anything up earlier than the start of October. And the day after Halloween, it all comes down," Cathy said with mock solemnity.
Ted has gotten her into the Halloween mood so much so that, several years back, she spied a huge gargoyle that was doing something or other at the old Fortunoff store. It had been marked down from $800 to $200, a total steal.
"I called Ted, and he grabbed it," Cathy laughed. It now sits front and center on the porch roof, right beneath and between the two ghouls hanging out of the attic windows.
Cathy helps paint the tombstones, and the Geardino sons - Teddy, 14, and the 12-year-old twins, Joey and Spencer - all pitch in to help with the massive undertaking.
The entire family enjoys all the work, and so do passersby. Cathy said about two years ago, about a thousand kids made it to the house via bus to see all of the family's creative efforts.
The neighbors, though, were slightly less enthusiastic.
"I think it was bringing too many kids. Some of my neighbors just go out of town for the day," Cathy smiled.