The haunting of Northborough
Northborough – For most people, Halloween is a couple of weeks of decorations, costumes and manufactured thrills. For David Pasco, it's a passion that occupies him beginning in August.
And that doesn't include the post-Halloween sales and the odd project during the course of the year.
"I just love this stuff ," Pasco said. "When I was 3 or 4, I had a stuff ed monster instead of a Teddy bear."
A Halloween scene that popped up every year on Lincoln Street inspired him to create his own, and by the time he was in sixth grade, he convinced his parents to let him start his project – one that has gone on for more than a dozen years.
He started with "Mike," a creature wearing Pasco's own "blood"-stained shirt and a mask. His grandfather provided "gravestones" made of plywood. He also used his award-winning grim reaper costume that his mother made him the year before.
"Halloween has always been absolutely the coolest time of the year for me," Pasco said. "I remember when I was in school there was one skeleton to go around, and I would think, 'They might think I'm strange, but I've got six of them up in my attic.'"
Of course, Halloween isn't the only thing on Pasco's plate. He is studying at Quinsigamond Community College, with the goal becoming a teacher, and he has a parttime job at Home Depot.
His job off ers some perks, he noted. One of his gravestones is broken; it was a sign the store was going to throw out for precisely that reason. Pasco snapped it up, painted it, and voila – a gravestone. He also gets a lot of ideas just walking through the store.
Much of his Halloween scene is a combination of luck, skill, frugality and ingenuity. For example, the newer gravestones are made of pink insulation foam that he paints. Then he prints the epitaphs from his computer and, using a wood-burner, "engraves" them.
The "wrought-iron" fence in front of his graveyard is actually made from PVC pipe and strapping. He'd seen a similar fence for $80.
"It wasn't what I wanted and it wasn't what I wanted to spend," Pasco said. "I realized I could make the same thing. I managed to buy the drill [to make the fence] and all the parts and I wound up spending less."
He makes the most of post-Halloween sales and re-uses old costumes. Even his epitaphs are his own. He began by using the names of his and his sister's friends. Now he uses the names of his co-worker's children and characters from books by writers such as Anne Rice.
"There's usually some story about every single thing," he said.
Pasco's personal Halloween tradition is shared by his neighborhood. He said he enjoys watching costumed ghosts and ghouls traverse the hill by his creation to reach the house for their treats each year.
The neighbors also get into the act. He said more than once he's had neighbors helping him with one of his trickier props.
"I'm extra lucky," he said. "I've never had anything but nice comments."
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