NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York’s finest have traded in their uniforms for scary masks and costumes in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and neighborhood kids have been lining up to get a peek inside the precinct house of horrors.

As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, the dead come alive in the basement of terror at the 78th Precinct station, at 65 Sixth Ave. in Brooklyn – complete with an electric chair, a man on a swing in a menacing skeleton mask, and a character dressed as the Joker from Batman imploring people forward as he says, “Don’t be afraid of the dark!”

But the haunted house is unlike any other.

The actors are all police officers, who lead terrified neighborhood kids through a maze in the precinct house.

“A lot of people in the neighborhood, you know, they come to a police precinct for negative stuff,” said NYPD Capt. Frank DiGiacomo, the commanding officer in the precinct.

For the haunted house, DiGiacomo gets into costume and a casket. He wanted to change the perception of going to a police station, and make the precinct house an open and friendly place at a time when police-community relations could use strengthening.

“Bringing more people to interact with the officers is always a good thing,” he said.

Officers spent months preparing to turn their police station into a haunted house, but first they had to clear the basement.

“We had nothing but boxes. It was storage; paperwork for the precinct,” said Officer Mark Caba. “And then we had a pipe burst and it destroyed all the paperwork.”

With the basement cleared, they built the haunted house to the delight of children everywhere.

“It’s scary,” one little girl said.

“It’s wonderful,” a neighborhood resident said. “About time – you know – instead of us looking at somebody coming in with handcuffs, we can actually have something for the kids.”

The haunted house at the 78th Precinct will be open on Friday for one more night, from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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