Little Neck resident Cameron Gutmann and his father Steve have long taken pride in the amount of effort and creativity they put into decorating their front yard at 252-01 63rd Ave. for Halloween. Since 2015, their home has often been the talk of the neighborhood in October thanks to their large, eye-catching decorations and animatronics.
“I’ve always had a passion for Halloween,” Cameron Gutmann, 19, said. “It’s something to look forward to every year and the neighborhood appreciates bringing Halloween to life. We have gravediggers. We have demons. We have clowns. Obviously that gothic vibe that we have going on really brings it to life.”
In addition to being a student and radio DJ at Nassau Community College, Cameron Gutmann also works at Spirit Halloween. He says working there helps him stay on top of trends in Halloween decorations and that scary clowns are pretty popular these days.
According to Steve Gutmann, most of their decorations were purchased from either Spirit Halloween or Home Depot. They need to be stored in both his garage and the attic as they take up so much space. Still, he takes pride in entertaining and sometimes scaring those in the neighborhood.
Cameron Gutmann estimates that at least 100 people stop by the home each Halloween to see the decorations. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic mostly behind us, he is hopeful that number will jump higher.
“Halloween is back and better than ever,” he said. “Since we’re in that post-COVID stage, I think this year’s going to be a big event.”
One of their newer and more popular animatronics is a skeleton named Mr. Dark. When turned on, it extends up to 9 feet tall when sensing people passing by. Steve Gutmann jokingly said it’s already scared a few dogs that were being walked.
The popularity of the Gutmanns’ Halloween display hasn’t been limited to those in the neighborhood. Cameron Gutmann has made it possible for people all over the world to take in the display through many of the videos on his YouTube channel, Cameron John. He’s already amassed 4,200 subscribers. The content on the channel is dedicated to year-round Halloween and horror content. He promotes his display as well as his favorite Halloween brands. He also recently created a second YouTube channel, iHalloween, that is dedicated to informative Halloween product demonstrations.
Thanks to the popularity of his videos, he has occasionally been recognized out in public by his viewers. He recalled attending this year’s grand opening of the flagship Spirit Halloween and being noticed by fans, who ended up asking for his autograph. Because of his popularity on YouTube, Cameron Gutmann now sells his own merchandise, inspired by some fun comments by viewers as well as the film Beetlejuice. People can purchase their own “Halloween, Halloween, Halloween” shirts at cameronjohnapparel.creator-spring.com.
Cameron Gutmann also outlined some of the new features for the 2022 display. He expanded where guests can walk onto the lawn and pose with Pumpkinhead, a 12-foot-tall pumpkin skeleton, as well as Big Skelly, also about 12 feet tall.
“I have expanded my graveyard setup where more lost souls are kept,” Cameron Gutmann said. “But beware of The Caretaker who will greet you as you walk by, and step no further because Mr. Dark will stop you in your tracks. We have some new faces of horror who will be joining us this year: Krampus the Christmas demon, Baphomet the goat demon and, last but not least, the ghost with the most, Beetlejuice. It’s like a block party on 63rd Avenue with the music.”
The joy and entertainment that the Gutmanns have for the holiday has spread across the neighborhood.
Next-door neighbor Joanne Carmosino loves seeing the work they put into it and watching kids and adults take in the display. She also feels everything Cameron has done on YouTube presents a bright future for him.
“I see [Cameron’s] passion and I really see some great things coming out of this,” Carmosino said. “I love it because this is good nature. You really see the care in it.”
In order to get the optimal Halloween experience, Cameron Gutmann recommends people come to see the display after sundown on the holiday. He emphasized that there will be plenty of candy there for trick-or-treaters.
“My dad and I look forward to seeing everyone in their costumes and joining us in the celebration,” he said. “We might have some extra treats for those who show up in their best costume.”