Travel to the Upside Down at Brick, NJ family’s ‘Stranger Things’ Halloween light show
BRICK — If you love the Netflix hit series, “Stranger Things” and Halloween, you’re going to love this spooky treat.
When you think of holiday light shows, you probably first think of Christmas, right?
Well, a township family will be hosting “A Stranger Things Halloween Light Show” at their home on 843 Downey Ave. from Friday, Sept. 23 through Monday, Oct. 31.
Melissa Casqueira and her husband Manny are the brains behind this operation, something they’ve been doing for three years now.
What is the Stranger Things Halloween Light Show?
This year’s synchronized light show is complete with 100,000 LED lights on the house and in the yard, and a few thousand pixels that are individually addressable where Casqueira can make them any color and run pictures across them. The show will run approximately every 20 minutes on a continuous loop and will feature soundtracks from the “Stranger Things” series.
“Our addition of pixels during the 2021 holiday season has allowed us to address each pixel, to one of the millions of different colors. Now, we are able to display clipart, jpegs, pdf files of characters, or other effects in our front yard,” Casqueira said.
Mrs. Casqueira says the show will run Sun-Thurs from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“This year from Stranger Things, we’re going to be picking some music from the hit series, and then I’m going to be programming those songs to the lights. When people pull up to the house, I broadcast the music out front and you can just turn to the radio station from the comfort of your car to watch the show,” Casqueira said.
The music will be broadcasted over 103.1 FM. She said people may get out of their vehicles for a closer look at the Halloween masterpiece but the show is meant to be watched from inside the cars.
Not only will there be lights and music, but tons of cool Halloween decorations, too, including 12-foot skeletons, and a 14-foot tree, along with a couple of thousand-pixel ball strobes from that tree where she can send out images and make them move.
Last year, the Casqueiras did “A Nightmare Before Christmas” theme where they put the characters Jack Skellington and the mayor of Halloweentown on the tree and made them talk and dance.
Work has not started on this year’s Halloween light show just yet. “But I’m pretty excited to start finding some Stranger Things clip art and images that I’ll be able to work with, out there on the tree,” Casqueira said.
How is the show constructed?
It’s a husband and wife team operation, she said. Husband, Manny builds the display. Their garage and home are covered in tens of thousands of LED lights. The lights are strung from a PVC pipe, at three-inch spacing. Any permanent structures, like the fencing, are also strung with these lights.
During the Halloween season, you may notice a spooky jack-o-lantern face singing the vocals from the height of the family’s garage. Mrs. Casqueira said the jack-o-lantern is constructed from hundreds of LEDs, wooden boards, and metal framing, and her husband placed each LED ever so carefully.
During the Christmas season, the spooky face is replaced with a brilliant singing Christmas tree. This, she said, was constructed with an 8-foot corrugated plastic, over one thousand LEDs, and countless hours of careful placement.
She said special thanks must be given to Danny O’Shaughnessy and his team from All Shore Renovations in Toms River, who have come every year for the past three years to help her husband with the set-up and take-down of every show, free of charge.
Casqueira said she is the show’s computer programmer. She has 8 computerized controllers that signal to the display, when to blink, flash, fade in, etc. Five of those controllers contain 16 channels each, amounting to 80 channels of programmable LEDs.
She programs each song, to the tenth of the second. Each channel is individually programmed and coordinated to a soundtrack. Again, this year, the soundtrack will be songs from “Stranger Things.”
Who does the holiday light show benefit?
While “A Stranger Things Halloween Light Show” is a free event, the Casqueiras will be collecting donations for a local organization called Lead U.
She said since October is Anti-Bullying Month, she wanted to do something to help make a difference in Brick. So, Casqueira asked the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) at her son’s elementary school, Emma Havens Young for some suggestions. The association along with the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying district instructor (HIB) led her to Lead U.
Lead U is a group of educators who seek unique and theatrical ways of empowering children of all ages to find the leader within themselves. Acquired by the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, they focus on issues including, anti-bullying, empowerment, kindness, leadership, mindfulness, and cyberbullying. The organization is very active in the community and will be doing programming at various schools in Ocean County throughout the upcoming school year.
She said 100% of the proceeds from the light show will be donated to Lead U to help with local programming. Money will be collected three ways: in front of the house in a lock box during the shows, via Venmo @CasqueiraHolidayLightShow, and through Lead U's donation page.
To help fund the light show, the Casqueira family will offer custom vinyl designs, shirts, and more from their small business, The Casqueira Holiday Light Show Custom Shirts and Customizable Crafts. All proceeds from sales will be given to their charity, Lead U.
As an addition to this year’s Halloween light show, Piper’s Treats, an ice cream truck will be stopping by on the busiest nights with a variety of tasty treats and giveaways, as well.