Kelvington Drive family stages carnival of horror

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 9:03 p.m.

There's nothing like watching teenage boys running scared on Halloween, said Monroeville resident Terry Conti, whose family has gained a reputation as scare masters on Kelvington Drive.

“At first, (neighbors) thought we were crazy, but now they all love it,” Conti said.

A carnival of horror awaits trick-or-treaters this year at the Conti home.

This year's Halloween display features a headless man and murderous clowns lurking in the yard.

The sights and sounds tend to draw a crowd each year, Conti said.

“You look up and there's 20 people in the yard, and a guy in a banana costume (videotaping) his kids,” she said.

Halloween has evolved into quite the commercial holiday.

Seven in 10 Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), based in Washington, D.C.

Halloween spending is expected to reach $8 billion, according to the NRF website.

That money will go toward candy, home decorations and, of course, costumes.

The red Angry Bird costume is a top seller for children and adults at Party City in Monroeville this year, while the Scream mask — based on the 1990s horror series — has become a Halloween tradition, said assistant manager Valerie Wolfson.

The Conti family is continuing a Halloween tradition in their neighborhood that began years ago, said neighbor Roger Repasi.

“It's unusual watching (the display) go up and down each year,” he said. “We get a lot of traffic stopping. It's kind of funny.”

Before the Contis' display, there was a family on Castle Hill Road that transformed their home into what they called the Bates Motel.

There was a casket in the living room and the children dressed as gargoyles, Repasi said.

The Conti family started small a few years ago with some hay bales and scarecrows, but the horror has intensified with each passing year.

Terry's husband, Patrick, builds life-sized displays with two by fours, garbage cans and plastic piping, while Terry designs and tailors the costumes for each character.

“This year, we almost bit off more than we could chew,” she said. “We were tired.”

But the hard work is worth the end result, as Conti remembers the Christmas display of a former neighbor in Brentwood.

“People would come from all over the place,” she said. “It created a memory.

“I guess that's what we're doing, creating memories.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or

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