It was a wet and windy Halloween night, but that didn’t stop Joey Cuscuna from putting together a successful outdoor fundraiser in LaSalle. Cuscuna raised more than $5,300 for Autism Speaks Canada, a group that supports people living with the developmental disorder. He almost tripled his original goal of $2,000.
Cuscuna transformed the backyard of his Pilon Street home into a spooky haunted house equipped with lights, smoke machines and mannequins inspired from horror movies. More than 1,500 people made the special trip to walk through it in exchange for a donation to charity.
« It was incredible. There was a massive lineup in front of my home. We were allowing people to visit in groups of twenty every two minutes. That’s how long it was, » he says.
This was the second time Cuscuna has put together a haunted house fundraiser on Halloween night. Last year, he raised money for another charitable group.
« It’s all worth it. I was touched by the response of some people. One woman came to me and said she works with children suffering from autism. She thanked me for all my hard work and gave me 20 dollars. It was emotional. That really got to me, » Cuscuna says.
He credits helpful neighbours and teams of volunteers for making his effort a big success.
« People just showed up all night and offered their time. It was so great to see, » Cuscuna says.
The 31-year-old is already hard at work planning next year’s event. He promises an even bigger, and scarier, display.