BRICK, NJ — Melissa Casqueira describes herself as one of those college students who was “over-engaged” — volunteer drives, charities, she even founded a nonprofit organization while she was at Kean University.
“My happiness is driven by helping others,” she said Monday. That’s why the Casqueira Holiday Light Show at her family’s Brick Township home is more than just a light show: It helps her fulfill that need to help others.
The Casqueira Holiday Light Show is all decked out for Halloween — Melissa Casqueira’s favorite holiday — in a “Stranger Things” theme, an homage to the Netflix show.
” I think I binged the new season which came out in two parts, in one day respectively. I felt as though the show became super spooky, more like a scary movie rather than a drama this year, so it would align with Halloween perfectly!” she said.
Melissa and her husband, Manny, have been putting together the light show at their home at 843 Downey Ave. in Brick for a few years now at Halloween and Christmas. Their 6-year-old son, Andrew, helps with the decorating.
The current display includes just over 100,000 lights. Manny — his favorite holiday is Christmas — does much of the decorating and Melissa handles the computer programming. Their friend, Danny O’Shaughnessy of All Shore Renovations, donates time and a crew to help the family install with wrapping the house, to support the charity efforts. “He’s been helping for a few years now,” she said.
“(Manny) loves to be outside during the show, and talk to all of the people who come here to support us and our cause. He’s a social butterfly,” Melissa said. “I jumped onto his decorating a couple of seasons ago … I took the display and turned it into a synchronized, radio-broadcasted event.”
This year that includes synching it to the theme music from “Stranger Things.” Casqueira said she found the show’s soundtrack on a website that lists soundtracks of dozens of television shows. They also will have a special guest this wee, on Wednesday and Saturday: local cosplayer Jayne (@famousjayne07 on Instagram) will be dressed up as Eleven from the show, posing for photos with people who stop by.
“Jayne reached out to us before the show began when she saw that our theme was Stranger Things,” Casqueira said. ” She dresses up as different characters from movies, television shows, and video games alike, as awesome characters. In her mail, she included several pictures of her dressed as Eleven from Stranger Things. She’s definitely going to be a huge hit.”
The most important part, of course, is the donations coming in for Lead U, an organization of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. The donations the organization are allocated to local school districts for assemblies featuring Lead U and its efforts to reach teens in crisis and help them. They can be found at www.leaduthere.com.
The Casqueiras are accepting donations via sptsusa.org/halloween, via Venmo @casqueiraholidaylightshow or in front of the house in the child’s height lockbox.
Casqueira said they have received support from a local mother, Brooke Poppe of Mama Makes. Poppe created a fundraiser for the show and was set to deliver the money raised on Wednesday.
The show will be from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. nightly through Halloween, and Casqueira said she will hand out treats on Halloween, the last day for the show.
Those who want to help support the light show itself can order custom shirts and other items from the family’s business, The Casqueira Holiday Light Show, Custom Shirts and Customizable Crafts, which they started this year.
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