Two families living on Long Island have been doing the same thing with the same charitable purpose in mind, separated by only a few miles. The Kennedy family and Baird family have been hosting Halloween events for years at their homes. Darkness Rising was the Baird family’s haunt and Terror on Alexander Ave was the Kennedy family’s haunt. For years both walkthroughs had received rave reviews, often being compared to other professional haunts on Long Island. That was before they met.
Jim Kennedy, the mastermind of Terror on Alexander Ave, made a very hard decision in 2009. This would be the last Halloween event he would do at his home. The size of his family’s 2009 haunt drew crowds of over 2000 people and they collected enough food to fill a box truck. The haunt was just too big to manage at his home in Nesconset. Jim put his entire haunt up for sale on Craig’s list, hoping to sell it to recoup some of the thousands of dollars he invested into the haunt himself. He also wanted the haunt to go to someone who would appreciate it like he did.
Kevin Baird was looking to bring Darkness Rising to another level in 2010. He came across the ad in Craig’s list and met with Jim to buy some of his Halloween props and materials. That was the beginning of a partnership that would go on to create an amazing haunt in 2010. You see, Kevin had this vision of creating rooms and certain effects that are only seen at high end haunted attractions like Disney’s Haunted Mansion. As for Jim, well he is the jack of all trades of the haunt industry and wanted to scare people through visual scares, sound and smell. Between Kevin’s detail and Jim’s technical scare tactics, they created a haunt that brought fear into the hearts of about 2000 people. Jim, Kevin and both of their families worked on putting together a 2000 square foot haunted house in 2010 at the Baird home. They were open for 7 nights and raised thousands of dollars for their two charities, YES Community Counseling and The Anchor Camp. In 2010, the Bairds realized the same thing that the Kennedys realized in 2009; the haunt was too big to continue hosting at their home.
Last year with the help of another amazing Baird family member, Frank Baird (Kevin’s Dad), they were able to get a 12,000 square foot building from the Massapequa Fire Department to host the event. This is a dream that both Kevin and Jim have always had; a way for them to express themselves in a large venue, and not have to worry about killing their grass or destroying their homes. A place where they can attract thousands of people to come get scared and donate money to the charity. 10 Brooklyn Ave in Massapequa offers a great place to host the event; completely indoors, including space for over 250 people to stand online out of the weather and cold.
This is going to be a another great year for Darkness Rising so please come down and see us in October. Keep checking out the site for updates. Donate, sponsor and volunteer!!
Thank you all and we hope to scare the hell out of you,
The Kennedy and Baird family