MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Tired of the same old Halloween tricks and treats? Looking for something to really amp up the scare quotient for this year’s All Hallows Eve?
How about a Nightmare Circus? If killer clowns and other ghosts, ghouls and goblins are your taste, you may want to check out Dominic Cappelletti’s Halloween "scaretacular" on Mahopac Point on Halloween night.
Cappelletti, along with his dad and a cadre of family and friends, built and operate a homemade haunted house—the Nightmare Circus—on their front lawn at 24 Sycamore Road.
This is the third year that the Cappellettis have embarked on the ghoulish undertaking. The first year was a modest endeavor—one tent-full of scares that had around 20 people attend. Last year, the Circus expanded dramatically and about 500 showed up to be terrorized.
The inspiration for the Nightmare Circus dates back to Cappelletti’s childhood.
“We started doing Halloween displays when I was little kid,” he said. “We has this ghost that hung from a tree and would drop down if you walked under it. I was so fascinated with that. We stopped doing it after a while. But a few years ago, we were hanging out and talking about how much fun it was and how we should bring back the spirit to the neighborhood.
“It started small, but last year we expanded significantly. We have the sickness now,” he added.
This year, the Nightmare Circus will feature some new attractions, although Cappelletti says you’ll have to come and experience them to find out what it’s all about. Besides props and other mechanical frights, there will be human actors as well. The cast has expanded to 12 and Cappelletti promises they are all indeed quite terrifying.
Hollywood horror prop master and makeup artist Brian Spears, a Mahopac resident, has also lent his considerable skills to the project. He’s created some gruesome props for the Circus and will help out with the actors’ makeup.
There is a website—www.nightmarecircus.com—where you can go to learn more about the event. You'll discover things such as:
• Nightmare Circus has fog machines in operation. If you find the smoke too intense there are emergency exits throughout the attraction.
• Nightmare Circus is not recommended for guests who are pregnant, have heart conditions or are in general poor health.
• Nightmare Circus is not wheelchair accessible. It’s located on a front lawn with steep inclines, declines and uneven terrain, which would make wheelchair access very difficult.
• Due to the nature and strong themes of the attractions, Nightmare Circus is recommended only for adults and teens, not children.
• Carrying babies though the attraction is not permitted under any circumstance—no exceptions!
There is no onsite parking. Nightmare Circus is located in a gated community. Park in town at the Chamber Park (near the Tompkins Mahopac Bank) and walk into the neighborhood.
This event is completely free. However, they are collecting donations for the ALS Association (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
“My uncle passed away from ALS, so we thought, let’s give back to the community and help some people out,” Cappelletti said.
Nightmare Circus is open 7-10 p.m. on Halloween Night.
If you are wondering just how scary it is: “Last year, we had a 12-year-old boy pee his pants,” Cappelletti said proudly.