Scare tactics: Cops stage haunted labyrinth in the basement of their P’Heights station house

Chilling chief: Deputy Inspector Frank DiGiacomo, commanding officer of the 78th Precinct, used his vast collection of creepy Halloween stuff to retrofit his station house’s basement into a creepy labyrinth.
Community News Group / Colin Mixson

They’re the boys in boo!

Cops at the 78th Precinct retrofitted the basement of their Prospect Heights station house into a labyrinth of horror, where brave locals can take free tours through Oct. 30. The subterranean creep show is filled with ghoulish statues, dolls, and gizmos, but it’s New York’s Finest that make it truly terrifying, according to the precinct’s top cop.

“The more actors — who are all cops — I have downstairs, the scarier it is,” said Deputy Inspector Frank DiGiacomo. “The real scares are from people.”

The precinct’s third-annual haunted house was designed entirely by DiGiacomo, who, in addition to overseeing his officers’ crime fighting operations, is also a bona-fide Halloween nerd with an otherworldly collection of holiday paraphernalia.

His haunted arsenal includes a mechanized Cerberus — the hound known for guarding the gates of Hell — in addition to dozens of life-size clown, ghost, and zombie statues, as well as fog machines, strobe lights, animated picture frames, a full-size electric chair, and enough frightening bric-a-brac to fill an industrial-size basement with blood-curdling screams.

The commander may dream up the eerie maze, but its his rank-and-file officers who turn fantasy into reality, pitching in during their off-hours to help realize their boss’s creepiest fantasies, according to DiGiacomo.

Clowning around: The precinct’s haunted house has a room dedicated to creepy clowns, like this one modeled after the villian in Stephen King’s “It.”
Community News Group / Colin Mixson

And the displays are dismantled after the holiday in order to give the chief a fresh slate to work with come next Halloween, ensuring residents visit a new-and-improved haunted house each year, he said.

“We don’t want people seeing the same thing over and over and over,” DiGiacomo said.

As many as two dozen morbidly costumed cops will populate the spooky space, including the chief himself, who said he’ll be down there every day trying to elicit the best screams — and smiles — that he can from
his unwitting victims.

“My favorite part is that we scare the kids, but they’re smiling at the end,” DiGiacomo said. “The biggest thing is that everybody comes out smiling.”

Catch a fright at the 78th Precinct station house [65 Sixth Ave. between Dean and Bergen streets in Prospect Heights, (718) 636–6411]. Oct. 25–30, 3–9 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Smile!: The spooky lair is filled with ghoulish statues and dolls that DiGiacomo collected over the years.
Community News Group / Colin Mixson

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