Roxbury, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Halloween gives us a chance to play dress up with the kids and take them trick or treating.
But not every monster has to be scary.
One family in New Jersey has turned their front yard into an incredible adventure.
Inside the house, brave souls will will receive a classic scare. Outside is different. Scarecrows and ghouls are quintessential Halloween displays, but you don’t expect to see a life-sized replica of “The Black Pearl” pirate ship.
“Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘Man, I’ve gone too far?'” asked CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
“No!” said Craig Heard, laughing.
For more than 30 years, the Heard family in Roxbury turns Halloween into a bonding experience.
“Starting in 1986, the fingerprints are on carving pumpkins,” Craig said. “But the first costume Craig wore was a pirate costume. So the pirate theme became embodied in anything we do with Halloween going forward.”
So when he saw the boat available on eBay, he had to have it.
“We hired a 16-wheeler flatbed to bring it from Denver, Colorado to New Jersey,” he said. “He drove away. We put it on our lawn.”
In the off season, the boat is stored at a local church. But for one month out of the year, she sets sail at the Halloween house.
“We hire two police officers to watch the traffic and the kids,” Craig said. “Nobody’s bored by waiting in line. I ask them, they say the line is never too long because we enjoy the details.”
For the better part of two months, the family works together on every details, with one rule.
“The rule in the beginning, when we started expanding this, was that it had to be family friendly. It can’t be jumping out, or so gory kids won’t look at it,” Craid said.
Some scare houses force you to sign a waiver.
“You’ve gone with a much more child-like version of Halloween,” Overmyer said.
“Got to. You got to because that’s what its about. It’s not about grabbing their legs when they walk through or shooting air cannons at them. We want them to feel like they’re having fun with family,” Craig said.
The decorations may have a tinge of evil, but are designed with love by a family with a spooky tradition.
“Dare I say you’re bringing the Christmas spirit to Halloween?” Overmyer asked.
“I’d like to say that. We’re giving chips out to the kids,” Craig said.
“You’re turning Halloween into a feel-good holiday,” Overmyer said.
“It should be!” Craig said.
“What are you most proud of?” Overmyer asked.
“I’m proud of my family for continuing the tradition,” Craig said. “Our family is engaged and having a ball with it and being creative. And also seeing the other families enjoy what we do, and be so grateful for it. You can’t beat that.”