During the past five years, the Brzozowski family has transformed their tranquil yard in Harlem into a terrain of terror on Halloween, in a tradition of thrilling and chilling the community.
"This is our sixth annual year of doing this, and every year, we try to add something new to it," Robert Brzozowski said.
Harlem Haunts Haunted Trail began on the Brzozowskis' front porch five years ago but has since escalated to a three- to five-minute walk through their one-acre property at 210 W. Forrest St.
"We've always got a lot of screams out of it," said Robert's wife, Marilyn.
The 750-foot trail features frightening characters from many classic horror movies, such as Jason Voorhees, Leatherface and Michael Myers.
The Brzozowskis also added a modern touch to the trail by re-enacting a scene from The Ring.
"We want it in the atmosphere that it's going to scare us too," Robert said. "If it doesn't scare us, or it doesn't appeals to us, then it's not going to scare the younger group that we like to have come through there."
Groups of six to eight people must also make their way through an area of crazy clowns and an eerie graveyard with fog and strobe lights flashing in the darkness.
"The way we set it up, they're not prepared for what they're going to see next," Robert said.
"We want them to be surprised."
The Brzozowskis have invested nearly $8,000 in decorations and props for the haunted trail.
"Most of the stuff that my brother and I have purchased over the years, we've bought online because you just can't get a lot of the good stuff local," he said.
Robert, who controls the security and runs the maintenance, said he ensures that the trail is safely operated. Characters in costume are not allowed to touch guests and vice-versa.
A Harlem police officer also will be on hand to direct traffic and provide security.
Last Halloween, Robert said 600 to 800 people showed up to test their fright level.
"It's one of my favorite times of the year," he said.
"The main thing is that the kids really enjoy it. They really get a kick out of that."
The excitement, Robert said, also extends to the neighbors.
"As we're setting up, you can just hear the kids on the school bus as they are going by," he said.
"The local people are really fired up about it."
The haunted trail's construction started as a family project for the Brzozowskis, but as it grew in size, additional family members and close friends lent a hand, Marilyn said.
Between 10 and 15 people, including Mike Chandler, Mikey Chandler Jr., Kyle Dusore, and Robert's brother, Steven Brzozowski, donated their time and worked for about a month building the trail.
Harlem Haunts is open only on Halloween night. It will open at nightfall and remain open for three hours.
Admission is free, and candy will be given to children.
Guests can give donations that will go to the Harlem Department of Public Safety.
For information about the Brzozowskis' haunted trail, call (706) 556-0828.
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