Maybe it should be called the Valley Stream Fright Department. When they’re not responding to emergency calls, local firefighters are busy preparing for this year’s haunted firehouse which opens on Friday night.
For the fourth straight year, the Brooklyn Avenue Firehouse is being turned into a dark maze of scares designed to appeal to Halloween fanatics of all ages. There will be some new concepts along with the popular attractions of years past. The haunted firehouse has consistently drawn thousands of people in previous years, and firefighters are expecting the same again.
Billy Croak, a member of Engine Company No. 2 which is housed at Brooklyn Avenue, said residents of Valley Stream and beyond come to look forward to the event every year. “They love it,” he said. “We’ve never had any negative comments. It’s local and it’s a fun night.”
Some ideas that will be featured again include a coffin room, a morgue, alien room and clown room. “I never knew how scared people are of clowns,” Croak said. “You’d be surprised. This room scares everybody.”
Another popular spot — the chain saw room. “We’ve actually chased people down the block with the chain saw,” Croak said, adding that the saw makes a lot of noise but has no actual chain on it.
New stops along the maze include an animal room and jail room. Former Fire Chief Ron Garofalo, who is leading the planning of the haunted firehouse along with Croak, says he doesn’t want to give away too much so people will be surprised.
There are a lot of new props this year, but the inanimate objects only make for part of the experience. Firefighters will be stationed in each room in costume, and can jump out at any moment to give people a scare. Croak said the use of live character actors is different from most other haunted houses which typically rely on electronics.
The Fire Department does offer a non-scare option. A firefighter will lead the way with a flashlight so the actors do not jump out.
Of course, firefighters hope most people will choose the scare option and get the full haunted house experience. “There’s a few other treats depending on what you step on or brush against,” Croak said.
He said it takes about 5 to 10 minutes to walk through the entire haunted house.