HAWTHORNE, NJ - Just minutes after the "Zombie House Support Parade" ended on Monday night, homeowner and "Halloween home haunter" Antonio Rodrigues was so moved by the affection shown that he decided to resurrect his zombie land. His wife, Tina Rodrigues, thanked the locals who banded together, demonstrating that there is "more love than hate."
At 10:00 a.m., TAPinto Hawthorne contributor Judy Kopitar found Rodrigues and his family had been at work putting the display back. "Cars that passed waved and blew their horns and neighbors were there to show their children the display and offer any assistance needed. The Rodrigues family was happy to see all the support people have showed to him. There were a lot of smiles on everyone faces."
In the afternoon, TAPinto Hawthorne stopped by to visit Rodrigues again. He had made a lot of progress resurrecting his monsters, thanks to the help of his family and friends. One man was reconnecting lights when he shared that he befriended Rodrigues through a visit to the Zombie House. "[He] scared my daughter to death, so I had to be his friend." Rodrigues predicted he would have the last 25-30 figures back up, along with his lights display, just in time for dark.
When asked what kind of turn out he expected on Halloween, Rodrigues said, "I think this year will be a very good year because now, even more people know." Halloween falling on a Saturday this year is sure to play a role in visitor attendance.
As TAPinto Hawthorne spoke with Rodrigues, cars continued to honk, wave, and show their continued support for the "Zombie House." While some residents have complained about traffic and noise issues presented by the display, prompting Rodrigues to decide to take it down originally, many locals appreciate not only the decorations, but what the entire operation represents: a little "small town excitement" in an otherwise chaotic time. The real world has been "frightening" enough, between the stresses and challenges presented by coping with the pandemic and the anxieties associated with an extraordinarily tense presidential election. As evidenced by so many Hawthorne homes going above and beyond this year in terms of their own decorations, residents are seemingly craving some normalcy and spooky fun this Halloween season in particular. It represents a little escape and diversion from a universally-acknowledged hard year. In that regard, Rodrigues and those of a similar spirit provide Hawthorne locals with exactly what they need.