“We pulled in everything with the help of neighbors,” Steve Gaeta said. “And then we put up sandbags.”
The quick thinking saved thousands of dollars in Halloween lawn ornaments, most of which were electronic.
Their first reaction, Anita Gaeta recalled, was not to take in the items, even through her husband, Steve said a massive storm was predicted. This was Oct. 29, 2012.
She was thinking about the kids and how many came from throughout the city to take a look at the massive display the family put on every year.
But after hearing calls for people near water to evacuate, they started to worry, even though they still believed weather people exaggerated.
Anita said, “Don’t worry, nothing’s going to happen.”
Neighbors and friends walking by the house kept asking if they were going to take down their things.
Steve finally convinced Anita to put the things away, saying there wasn’t going to be a Halloween that year.
“We managed to put the expensive animation display in our basement,” Anita said, as the water level in Newark Bay continued to rise. Eventually, a wave of water washed over the banks and into people’s houses. Their street suffered less than some of the nearby streets, but it was clear that they would have lost everything had they not taken the items in.
A year after the devastation, the Gaeta family—like many around the city—are getting ready to make up for the holiday they were deprived of last year, adding more than a dozen new features to an already very populated display.
They are not the only family to come out in force this year. Decorated houses can be found throughout the town, some of them longstanding displays such as the one on 16th Street and Avenue E, and others relatively new along Third Street.
On Avenue A near West Sixth Street, the owners of the Big Apple Restaurant once more filled their lawn with scary stuff, daring the expected armies of trick-or-treaters to step over their threshold.
Frightmare on 16th Street, located on Kennedy Boulevard, is perhaps the longest-running display in Bayonne, and though it has toned down somewhat over the last few years, it still presents an awesome sight in the weeks leading up to the frightful holiday.
Putting up his awesome Halloween display at his home near 16th Street for nearly 35 years, Tom Cannella used to incorporate his family and friends into the routine, dressing up for the night of horrors to give additional impact to a display of horrors that already drew people from miles away.
There are displays along Avenue E and other streets throughout Bayonne, and people should take a drive around town to catch a glimpse, helping to make up for their lost Halloween last year.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.