Halloween show attracts hundreds


after Boca backs off warnings


By Wayne K. Roustan, Sun Sentinel

10:29 p.m. EDT, October 21, 2011
A front-yard Halloween "Sound, Light & Laser Show" in Boca Raton attracted hundreds of parents and children on Friday night.

The city backed off warnings that homeowner Rick Newman could face steep fines for the display.

"We basically came to a new agreement, and they're going to allow me to do the show," Newman said.  

More than two dozen dancers, ages 7 to 18, performed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in the driveway of Newman's home at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. In full zombie make-up and costume.

The city initially objected to local dancers re-enacting the choreography and the four to five hours of continuous music on loudspeakers outside Newman's home every night.

The dance show is "commercial activity," which is prohibited in a residential area, and the music could violate the city's noise laws, Deputy City Manager George Brown said.

Brown said Newman has agreed to forgo live performances in the future and will not face fines for the Halloween show.

Last week, city officials asked Newman to tone down his future holiday displays. According to city regulations, Newman could face fines of $1,000 to $5,000 for going ahead with the dance performances and the music, Brown said.

John Kukla lives across Northwest Ninth Avenue from Newman. He brought his twin grandchildren, Safia and Jovani, 6, outside to watch the show at 7 p.m.

"The kids around here love it," John Kukla said. "You hear it a little bit [of the music], but it never bothered us."

Joey and Didi Tiritilli drove up from Deerfield Beach to see the display.

He was dressed as Dracula and appeared to float up and down the street as he rode on a Segway. His wife wasn't in costume because she's the real deal, according to her husband.

"My wife is from Transylvania," he said. "Really, she's from Romania. Transylvania is the region."

The whole neighborhood puts up Halloween decorations, but a few neighbors have a problem with Newman's shows.

Mary Hubbs is one of them. She has been living in the house southeast of Newman's home for 16 years and said the music is too loud.

"I told him, 'Rick, try to lower the volume a little,'" she said. "He doesn't like to be told anything."

She said she's complained about it to the city and Newman's response has left her feeling intimidated.

"I live alone and I'm afraid," Hubbs said.

As she explained her concerns, Newman walked down the street and cursed at her in front of a reporter.

"The whole neighborhood is absolutely against her. They've all said she's nuts," he said. "She should shut up and let the fun go on."

Newman's Halloween show continues through the end of the month with dance performances on Oct. 22, 28 and 29 at 7, 8 and 9 p.m.

He also plans a similar Christmas display in December.


WHAT: A Halloween "Sound, Light & Laser Show"

WHEN: 7-11 p.m. Through Oct. 31. "Thriller" dance shows at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. Saturday and Oct. 28 and 29.

WHERE: 699 NW Ninth Ave., Boca Raton

All music can be heard outdoors and on the radio at 107.3 FM within two-blocks of the display. All donations will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Sun Sentinel staff writer Rebekah Monson contributed to this report.

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