Steve Camardo, South Burlington
Real estate appraiser; Daughter, Emily, 19; son, Peter, 17
My daughter, Emily, got her first big scare when she was about 4. A bunch of twentysomethings lived at the edge of our neighborhood. They really did it up for Halloween — grave markers and stuff hanging from trees. My wife was home handing out candy, so I thought I could give Emily a little scare, while acknowledging my neighbor's efforts.
I really built it up as we made our way there, telling her we were going to the "scary house." She didn't object. When we got close, they had some scary motion-activated sounds in the yard, but Emily wanted to keep going. The door was open, but there was nobody there. When Emily rang the bell, one of the residents snuck up wearing a wolf costume and said, "ROAR!"
Emily screamed, and we were out of there.
Brian Hoar, Williston
Owner and general manager, Goss Dodge Chrysler; Daughters Rachel, 13, and Taylor, 12
When I was a kid, I loved trick-or-treating. But when our kids were young, we lived in the country without many neighbors, so we'd get them dressed up and go to my sister's development in Williston.
One year, my brother-in-law and I got a couple of huge pumpkins, carved them and put them on our heads. We had a lot of fun spooking all the kids, including our own, who had no idea we had come home from work early to do it.
Three years ago, our family moved into that Williston neighborhood. Now, we put a speaker in the bushes and turn on eerie music. We've got a system where we watch kids come up the driveway and if they're the right age, we work hard to surprise them. It's good, healthy fun.
Chuck Bongiorno, Grand Isle
Sales Manager, The Essex; Daughter Brittany, 25
One year, when my daughter, Brittany, was about 10, she asked if we could put together a Halloween party for her friends. She said she wanted us to scare them. I got in touch with a friend of mine, Walter Wood. He was the guy to talk to when it came to Halloween. He did a massive display at his place in Shelburne every year.
He came over and helped me create a haunted cellar. We draped the whole place with heavy, black plastic with scary, cut-out designs and lit it with black lights. We got out the dry ice. There was a casket, and when you walked by, the lid would rise and a Dracula figure would come out.
We also set up scarecrows around the cellar, and I dressed up like one. Twelve kids came through a couple at a time, and we scared the daylights out of them.