“Thank you for doing this for me.” These words, spoken by a young man with autism in his Captain America costume, helped motivate a LaSalle resident’s drive to raise awareness of autism once again this Halloween. For the past five years, Joey Cuscuna has been transforming his home on rue Pilon into a haunted house on Halloween night. “It all started as some friendly competition,” Cuscuna explains. “I saw my neighbour decorating his front lawn, so I thought, why not join him?” Last year, the haunted house showed its greatest success with over 2,000 supporters, raising approximately $6,000 in community-driven funds for Autism Speaks Canada. Although it’s a fun night, it’s more about bringing the community together, connecting with others and creating a meaningful outreach. “I realize that everyone has to do something to contribute to humanity,” Cuscuna explains, “I found my thing.”
This year, the haunted house will include live animation, new props, more videos and extra visual effects. The haunted house will also feature animatronics, thanks to the students of the “Sonic Howl” robotics team at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School (LCCHS). The LCCHS robotics team coaches, Gianni Panzera and Marcello Sicoli, were in search of an off-season project: coding and building the animatronics for the haunted house was the perfect option.
Since September, the students have been working hard and collaborating to ensure that the robotic features are ready for the event on October 31st. For instance, they are working on “making a head spin” using sensors. Through this project, the students are learning important and practical skills and theories that train their young minds to be pensive, creative and innovative, giving them the tools that they need to change the world. “These young, bright kids are not only stepping outside the box, they are breaking the box... they’re doing something bigger than them,” Cuscuna shares. In order to showcase the importance of robotics and programming, a video of the students’ development process will be playing Halloween night in the hopes of promoting STEM programs in schools.
Although Pilon’s Haunted House is open to people of all ages, it is catered towards children under the age of seven between 5:00PM and 7:30PM as the music is kid-friendly and there are no actors. If you’re looking for more of a scare factor, Cuscuna warns that “adults will be petrified [and] guaranteed to get a good scream” between 7:30PM and 11:00PM.
So, for the young man in the Captain America costume, and for all those who he represents, come out to the Pilon Haunted House at 564 rue Pilon on October 31st to show your support. It is about giving back, and what a perfect way to do so this Halloween.
Donation Link: https://bit.ly/2qtpMUc
My name is Melissa Migueis and I am a student at Dawson College in the profile Cinema-Communications. I love to lead a healthy lifestyle by eating clean, being active and keeping a healthy mindset! Oh, and you can always find me somewhere in nature!