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Attention daredevils: This spooktacle comes with gourds of fun.
Be ready to howl with the Halloween hordes when you pass by the home of iconic Brooklyn whiz-ard John Zammit, where a coffin-full of eerific eye candy is awaitin’ tremulous trick-or-treaters.
Nerve-janglin’, eye-poppin’ cut-out-critters and phant-astic figures crane their heads from every nook and cranny at the elbow-tickling depot on 58th Street, off Seventh Avenue, where ghostly messages in English, Spanish and Chinese — think, “No Brain, No Pain” and “Ghouls Crossing” — shriek for space with a scream zone and even a wrappin’ musical mummy.
He also reserves a thought for our uniformed workers and veterans, whom he hails with red, white and blue platitudes.
The handsome handiwork is his gift to the neighborhood, said Zammit, 75, who has been creating his displays — Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day ones, too — for the past 27 years. His youthful take on life has been documented by news shows and magazines, all marveling at the mega-watt spirit of the grassroots gladiator who hasn’t allowed much over the years to dampen his holiday mood — not arthritis, not knee replacement, not even a close brush with the Grim Reaper.
In fact, the projects are a way of keeping his pledge to a higher authority.
“I promised God when I was in hospital with cancer that if he let me live I would make a shrine that would make everyone happy,” explained the mild-mannered master-crafter with a hop, skip and jump in his voice who begins work on his labor intensive project right after Labor Day, assembling the various parts by himself, a little at a time.
For his multiple generations of thrilled fans, the pay off is boo-tastic and cements Zammit’s reputation as their fave king of kook.
“People come up to me every year and say, ‘Remember me?’” he laughs. “They bring their video cameras and their kids.”
There’s always a steady stream of new devotees to be trapped by Zammit’s special brand of whimsy, too.
“I took a double-take, it was a really nice display as if a lot of effort had gone into it,” said sidetracked stroller Steve Lin.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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