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Filled With Air and Ready to Scare

The Martoranas go all out celebrating Halloween with their inflatable display. This year's going to be bigger than ever

Article by Adam Bulger

Photography by John Agnello

Originally published in Wayne Lifestyle

For his first Halloween in Wayne in 2013, Rich Martorana set up three spooky inflatable decorations in his yard. Most people would’ve ended the Halloween lawn decorating there. But Martorana and his wife aren’t most people. 

At 10, Martorana learned how fun being scared can be from classic black and white Universal Studios monster movies. Bela Legosi’s Dracula and Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein’s monster hooked him on thrills and chills. His passion for all things scary led him to Jason Voorhees, Mike Myers, Freddy Krueger, and a love of Halloween.

When Martorana and his wife Gina moved to Wayne, it was the first time the native New Yorker had a lawn to haunt. And he seized the opportunity. “When I lived in New York, my dad always decorated the front of the house on Halloween,” Martorana says. “And Gina's the same way. She lived in an apartment her whole life. So we both agreed when we got a house, we would just go all out.” 

The Martoranas bought a 12-foot-tall pumpkin reaper, a six-foot pumpkin stack and a six-foot totem with a pumpkin, a bat, a witch, and a ghost. The inflatables multiplied like Gremlins in water, growing to 15 the next year and ballooning to over 40 the year after. The spooky spectacle grew bigger and more elaborate with each Halloween, reaching the terrifying heights of 167 inflatable displays for the 2020 Halloween season. 

Although a display of scary scenes as oversized as the Martoranas might provoke villagers to storm their gates with pitchforks and torches in a black and white movie, the Wayne community has embraced the Martorana’s incredible, inflatable tribute to all things Halloween.

As the inflatable outbreak grew on the Martorana’s lawn each year, Wayne took notice. The first year, they put signs at ShopRite to lure trick or treaters to their seasonal spooktacular and had about 60 kids ringing their bell. The next year word of mouth drew around 150 Halloween lovers. Gina’s Facebook page for the house further gathered even more frightseekers to their display. In 2015, newspaper coverage brought the Martorana’s house horrors drew spooky celebrators from as far off as Lancaster, PA. Delighted at the costumed crowd, the Martoranas created elaborate Halloween bags stuffed with candy, toys and novelties to hand out to kids. Along with their friends, the couple began greeting the crowds dressed as horror icons like Jason, Leatherface, Freddy, and more. 

“A friend of ours came dressed as Samara from The Ring,” Martorana says. “She's like five foot three and a gymnast. We got an old school TV and gutted it. She sat in it and when she crawled out the first time, I got scared. And it was my idea!” 

Unfortunately, not everyone’s a fan of Martorana’s inflatables. In fact, one critic seems intent on blowing away the inflatables and replacing it with their own rain of terror. “Mother nature hates the inflatables,” Martorana laughs. “The second we put up the first big inflatables here comes the wind. It never fails."

  • Gina & Rich Martorana