After moving to Canada in 2012, Miguel Pumariega decided he would celebrate Halloween to the fullest to make up for lost time.
Pumariega grew up in Cuba, where Halloween celebrations used to be highly discouraged — and could even land you in jail.
“When I grew up, if you had any (decorations) you would go to jail. Anything that had to do with North American traditions, you go to jail,” Pumariega told The Lake Report.
He noted the situation has relaxed in Cuba in recent years.
Now, Pumegiera’s neighbours — and anyone who passes by his family’s home on Annmarie Drive in Virgil — can see how he has made up for lost Halloweens.
His front lawn alone tells the tale.
Boasting a collection of animatronics and decorations amassed over the past 10 years, the Pumariega residence is one of the main attractions of the Halloween season in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
He starts putting up his largest decorations in early September and doesn’t finish tying it all together until the night before Halloween itself.
“We moved (to Niagara-on-the-Lake) three years ago and every year I’ve been adding more and more,” he said Monday night.
The decorations, which he sources from Home Depot, Costco, Spirit Halloween and other retailers, are just as much for his two young sons as they are for him.
“My kids love it. One of my sons is autistic and I thought this would help him to have more contact with other kids,” said Pumariega, who was dresses as a NASA astronaut.
In other instances, it may be hard for six-year-old Miguelito to connect with his peers, but at Halloween, all of his classmates recognize him for having the coolest house on the block.
“Last year I had about 250 (kids). I know this year for sure we reached 300,” Pumariega said on Halloween night.
To manage the amount of candy he hands out, Pumriega says he begins shelling out at 7 p.m. and until then, neighbours can enjoy the show of lights and sounds.
“I really enjoy seeing everyone’s smiling faces, even from the parents,” he said.
Pumeriega said he will be decorating the family’s Annmarie Drive property again for the Christmas season, but it won’t be quite the same scale as Halloween was.