Long exposure look sheds new light on spooky creations at NJ’s ‘Halloween House’ (PHOTOS)


They are ethereal. They are ephemeral. They are strange.

They may look oddly humanoid but they are not of this earth.

Once a year around this time, they show themselves to mere mortals in Lambertville in front of the house of their creator, artist Dolores Dragan.

Thanks to them, the house she lives in with her husband, Ed, on North Union Street has become known to locals as the Halloween House.

A gallery of ghouls has its candlelit ceremony disrupted by an evanescent human(?) visitor.
Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Med

The impressive display consists of 40-50 compelling figures of varying shapes and sizes, bathed in black light, each based on a specific event or person in Dragan’s life, friend, family member, student in art whom Dragan taught while working in the city public school.

Halloween house

Psychotic sisters disturb the silence of the night by playing together on an accordion.
Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

She began presenting the exhibition more than twenty years ago before retiring from teaching. The design of his creatures is elaborate and intricate.

Fantasy figures fill the porch, front yard, and wind around a path alongside the house, and this year there’s something new. Most characters have a roof of one sort or another over their heads.

Halloween house

Ghoulish mourners sit at a wake for one of their own while being watched by dark figures on the side curtains as an eerie light streams down the surreal scene.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Med

“Well, I do it because of the weather,” Dragan said. “The kind of weather we have, climate change, has changed everything.”

In previous years, she and her husband tried to cover up as much as they could in case of rain. With this year’s arrangement, they solved that problem.

“Things are undercover…. so I don’t have to worry about covering them up like I did in the past,” the artist said.

She says it took about a week to put up all the creatures, awnings and curtains, and ghostly lighting, bypassing the recent heavy rains our area experienced in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. .

Halloween house

A spell is cast by two conjurers among the crows.

Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Med

Speaking about his work last year, Dragan told NJ Advance Media, “It feels more like a mission than a display. I want to create something that people will remember and cherish.

“I want them to have an experience when they come here…I want them to take it with them.”

She also wants to benefit others in an additional way. Front and center is a collection pot for the Lambertville Community Kitchen, operated by the Centennial Methodist Church across the street. Dragon says that every penny collected goes directly to them.

“It’s been going on for a number of years,” Dragan recently said from his back porch. “It’s a community kitchen in town that feeds the elderly… They can associate and visit other people… you know, both food and companionship.”

Dragan promises that she will carry on the centuries-old tradition and her mission “as long as I can breathe”.

Scroll for more photos:

Halloween house

Evil faces fade and multiply over time, practicing dark arts under black lights.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Med

Halloween house

A peculiar bird-like being responds to a brood of hungry hatchlings.Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Med

Halloween house

Is this delicate creature simply resting or is it lying in eternal rest?

Michael Mancuso | NJ Advance Med

Halloween house

Mysterious moving lights surround psychotic sisters. (Animated GIF.)

Halloween house

A head in a jar strangely doesn’t seem out of place. (Animated GIF.)

Halloween house

Gruesome mourners in a strange wake. (Animated GIF.)

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Michael Mancuso can be reached at [email protected]


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