ROXBURY, NJ — Add the Halloween House in Succasunna to the long list of traditionally annual events in Roxbury canceled this year due to COVID-19.
For the first time in more than three decades, Craig and Madeline Heard are not welcoming the public to their property at 2 Alcott Way for an over-the-top Halloween celebration that takes almost two months to build and features thousands of creepy and funny items.
"To our Halloween House followers and Halloween guests and families: After 33+ years of The Halloween House display, it is with regret that this year we must postpone our display until next year," said the Heards in a statement.
The decision likely came as no surprise to those in the Heards' neighborhood who surely noticed that the family had yet to move to its front yard the huge "pirate ship" that serves as the centerpiece of the annual exhibit. The free display, which spills into several rooms of the Heard home, takes about seven weeks to build and typically includes new features every year.
Hurricanes and Snowstorms
It draws visitors from far away, usually requiring police presence to help with traffic flow in the residential neighborhood.
"In 2019, we had over 5,000 visitors, which was much appreciated," said the Heards. "It was a great year and will continue in the future. After 33+ years, this will be the first year we will have ever skipped Halloween. Even during Hurricane Sandy and snowstorms we still opened to enjoy the holiday with you and your family."
The Heards said it would be impossible for them to adhere to Gov. Phil Murphy's COVID-19 mandates relating to social distancing and crowd size. They also said they don't want anybody to get sick.
"Most importantly, we do not want to put anyone at risk of violating social distancing since we do have a large following and could not possibly implement the 6-foot rule or stay below the state's outdoor gathering rule," said the Heards. "Additionally, considering COVID's uncertain return in the fall, precaution is the safest action for
us to take at this time for our family setup team and for our guests."
The family will "spend this time to plan for Oct. 31, 2021, and be prepared to have our display open for all to enjoy, with new additions to surprise you," said the statement.
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