Merced family’s spooky light show attracts Halloween crowd

An elaborate setup of lights and music shine for anyone who dares to drive by the hauntingly spectacular scene on Verdon Court in Merced at the Smiths’ Spooktacular Halloween Light Show.

The Smith family – Tom, 40, Melissa, 38, and sons Dillon, 19, and Luke, 9, have been putting on this horribly entertaining show for five years. This year’s show kicked off Wednesday night and continues through Halloween.

Tom Smith, an engineer for PG&E, said the light show uses 18,000 lights and 2,000 feet of extension chords.

He said the house attracted 1,000 trick-or-treaters last year, and averaged about 25 cars on the week nights leading up to Halloween –about 100 on the weekend.

It took the Smiths 10 days to put up the lights and decorations. And that was in addition to about 50 hours of programming the lights and music to get just the right spooky effect.

Using a program called Light-O-Rama, Tom Smith sets the lights off in a coordinated fashion with the music. He connects the lights to his computer with a special cable so visitors can watch the light show and listen to the music by tuning their car radios to 107.7 am.

According to Tom Smith, throngs of parents and kids lined up on the the street last Halloween. “We actually had to keep the line moving,” he said.

The family said their Spooktacular used to be one of the biggest Halloween attractions in the area before a lot of pumpkin patches and haunted farm attractions started popping up. “We love doing it for the kids,” said Melissa Smith.

Tom Smith added that parents use the light show as a reward incentive for their kids, telling them that if they don’t finish homework or eat their dinner, then they can’t come see this decidedly spooky house.

“My love of tinkering and music pushed me to do this,” Tom Smith said.

So the frightful lights and music will be attracting crowds to the Smith’s home at 1298 Verdon Court again this year – people can’t resist a good Halloween show and neither can the Smith family.