Homegrown haunted house headlines Halloween festivities

What’s a Halloween fanatic to do when he is fresh out of college with a degree in architecture and construction management?

Build Wilton’s only haunted experience, of course, with a bit of help from family and friends.

That’s exactly what longtime Wiltonian Michael Pulitano is ready to do this year. A faux ticket booth already stands at the end of his driveway, and a wide array of haunted scenes are just about completed.

All he’s waiting for now, he says, is Oct. 31, when “The Realm of Fears Haunted House” opens on his family’s front lawn for the first time in seven years. The haunted house is free to enter, and runs from the edge of Ridge Lane all the way to the Pulitanos’ back yard, including indoor and outdoor scenes.

“I started the first week of September, so I will have been preparing for about two months. My girlfriend helped out a little bit, but with my brother and sister at college, I’ve done almost all of it by myself,” he said.

The event is somewhat of a neighborhood tradition, the designer said, with most people walking to the event. With better publicity this year, he hopes a lot of Wiltonians will get up and drive to 17 Ridge Lane for the experience.

“Everyone else in the past is always so excited when they come to our house,” Mr. Pulitano said at his home last week. “They think they’re just getting candy, but they’re really going into a haunted house.”

Those with little tykes need not be worried, though — the haunted house gets noticeably toned down when small kids are going through.

“Little kids have been through in the past,” the designer said, “It’s not that scary when we tone it down for them. We’re not going to pull out a chain saw.”

Though the past seven years have seen the Pulitano residence without a haunted experience — while Mr. Pulitano was at school in New York — he plans this year to be the best one yet.

“There’s nothing in Wilton that has something like this,” Mr. Pulitano’s sister, Amanda, said. “It’s fun and it’s free, and it’s unique.”

She might even invite her friends from Southern Connecticut State University, where she attends school, she said half jokingly.

One aspect of the project Mr. Pulitano finds especially important, he said, is making as much of the production by hand, and finding hometown volunteers to act as “scarers.”

“We try and make everything by hand,” he said. “And we always have a big cast of family and friends.”

The Realm of Fears Haunted House will run on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 from 6 to midnight at 17 Ridge Lane, just off Westport Road in south Wilton. It will be appropriate for all audiences.

Information: 203-273-9144 or TheRealmOfFears@gmail.com.