Boxes of Halloween masks, costumes and wigs cover the kitchen table and the living room floor as Mark Golembiewski dresses mannequins for his yearly walk-through haunted house in his garage.
“Halloween starts in June,” Sene Golembiewski, Mark’s wife, says with a laugh. “He’s like the pumpkin king.”
Since 2017, Golembiewski, with the help of his wife and kids, turned his passion for Halloween and horror movies into a tradition of decorating their east-side garage into a walk-through haunted house for Halloween.
When the couple started dating, they didn’t have any hobbies.
“I don’t really have a hobby. I do computers. That’s my job,” said Golembiewski, a manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “She (Sene) said, ‘no, we need to find you a hobby.’”
Sene Golembiewski, who works at Tucson Electric Power, pushed her husband to find a hobby. She similarly started outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking and decorating for her favorite holiday, Christmas.
“It was trying different things, and Halloween was it,” said Mark Golembiewski. “I got really excited and really into it.”
For him, Halloween season starts on Nov. 1, the day he begins mapping out haunted house plans for the next year. Golembiewski figures out his layout and design. He checks out “after Halloween” sales. By June, preparations “kick it into gear,” he said.
That’s when the family starts dipping into Golembiewski’s Halloween stash and painting masks, boxes and working on other items for the haunted house.
This year: a zombie graveyard for the front yard with a scary clown theme for the haunted house in the garage. And there’s a large spider above their front door.
Most of the decorations are bought from thrift stores, estate sales and “after Halloween” sales. The rest is made by the family.
Golembiewski’s search for a simple hobby has turned their home into a community hangout on Halloween night. Last year, about 300 people came through the family’s haunted house.
“It has definitely brought the community together,” Golembiewski said.
The couple will have their walk-through clown haunted house ready for Halloween on the corner of East 29th Street and South Regina Cleri Drive, in the Rolling Hills neighborhood on the east side.