SAN RAMON, Calif. - A Halloween event is up and running Wednesday night in one East Bay neighborhood. It started last year during the pandemic.
Neighbors got together and turned their homes into a celebration of Halloween and community. They said they decorated their homes as a way to bring people together and raise money for a food bank.
There are many attractions designed for adults and children. Homes are decorated to thrill and chill on the 3000 block of Ascot Drive in San Ramon.
"Halloween is kind of, it brings out the kid in all of us," said organizer Arno Trottier, "This time of year, it's really just the excitement, the changing of the seasons."
It's entertainment with a cause. Each decorated home has a QR code posted that gives people driving or walking by the option to donate to the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
"This is kind of our gift back to the community and to give back to ourselves," said Trottier.
This is the second Halloween neighbors have put on what they call Ascot Holiday Lights.
"Seeing all the houses, going trick-or-treating. It's just so great to see that tradition still exist and still alive in this post-COVIC kind of world that's we're living in," said Julia McArthur of Los Angeles who's here visiting her family.
The homes are connected with lights and synced to music.
Some features are interactive including a haunted pathway.
"We built a graveyard that we're hoping that the kids will walk through. It got destroyed with the storm but we're putting it back together," said homeowner Terick Albert whose elaborate decorations include a pet cemetery and a display of zombie babies.
All are outdoor attractions with COVID safety in mind.
"You're not walking through some haunted house set up with tarps that you feel like you're inside. That wouldn't be good," said Albert.
Hard to miss are the larger-than-life skeletons and the angel of death. They are creations from one teen and her family.
Keilani Kervin said putting the display together is a great way to emerge from the pandemic, "It's a lot of fun to do especially we've been just locked up with nothing else to do."
The creativity knows no limits.
Beware: the scares can come from an unexpected place including a storm drain.
"I'm not going down there," said one young boy when he saw Pennywise, the clown, looking up at him through the grate.
The decorations and attractions are scheduled to be up and running from dusk till 10 p.m. each night through Sunday.
The organizer said neighbors raised $5,000 with their decorated homes during Christmas.
They hope this event will surpass that amount.