HAWTHORNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – An elaborate Halloween display enjoyed by many in a New Jersey neighborhood has been taken down.
Complaints over traffic led the family who put it up to pull the plug.
As CBS2’s Christina Fan reports, it’s known in Hawthorne as “The Zombie House,” and for 15 years, Antonio Rodrigues on Lafayette Avenue has been “dead”-icated to scaring and entertaining the neighborhood children.
That’s why this year, just six days before Halloween, families passing by were stunned to find an empty lawn.
“Sad and confused,” said Mason Kenney.
“I’m upset, I’m very upset. I’m heartbroken. We love this and so does the town,” said Hawthorne resident Jennifer Wedeneyer.
The Rodrigues family says this past weekend, police showed up and told them they received thousands of calls from residents concerned about traffic.
While officers didn’t ask the family to remove the display, Antonio’s son, Justin, says it was strongly suggested.
“We were told that we were getting lots of complaints and that if anybody was parking over here that they would be ticketed. So, we decided instead of having more issues, we were just going to take it down,” Justin Rodrigues told Fan.
The Hawthorne Police Department said on Facebook officers did speak with Justin’s father about “potential safety concerns,” but denied anyone suggested he should take the display down.
Justin says his dad is from Portugal and started the display because he wanted to bring a little bit of Carnival to America. Every year, beginning in September, he starts setting up more than 100 life-sized, handcrafted zombies. He will then stand for hours hidden among the walking dead, scaring delighted trick-or-treaters.
“My dad spends so much time doing all this stuff out of the goodness of his heart. And there’s people complaining about it. I don’t know anybody more invested in Halloween than my dad,” Justin said.
They have since moved the zombies to their backyard, unsure if they will ever be shown publicly again.
“There’s no traffic. I don’t understand. Maybe a car will park just for a few seconds,” said Hawthorne resident Windy Leguillow.
“Maybe block off the road and just make it a walking area. I don’t know. There has to be something because he puts so much heart and soul,” said resident Sandy Butler.
Neighbors say the people who complained need to do some soul searching and allow the spirit of Halloween back onto this street.
More From CBS New York:
- Stimulus Package Update: While Politicians Negotiate, Economic Damage Continues
- 7-Year-Old Girl Killed In Bronx Fire, Woman Critically Injured
- NYPD Officer Suspended Without Pay After Being Caught On Video Saying ‘Trump 2020’ Over Patrol Car’s Loudspeaker
You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.