Welcome to the REAL Nightmare on Elm Street, right here in Cranford!
There’s a house in Cranford that’s a trick-or-treater’s dream come true–if you like scary houses! Affectionately known as The Nightmare on Elm Street, 403 Elm Street has been creating the creepiest, most awesome Halloween-scape for 14 years, and raising money for charity at the same time!
Irene and Marc Pearl were Cranford high school sweethearts who ended up raising their family in town. Their daughters Stephanie, Deborah, and Melissa begged to decorate the house for Halloween, and eventually Marc caved and started collecting PVC pipe from his day job as a plumber to create some over-the-top Halloween decorations that pop out at passers by.
Stephanie happens to be one of my clients–I helped her find her current home in Clark, but she and her husband, Christopher, return to Elm Street to help bring the Nightmare to life every Halloween!
According to Stephanie: “We get 1,000 trick or treaters every year. The street is closed down on Halloween to assure the safety of the kids, since some of them tend to jump into the street when they get scared by the moving decorations! Every year, we try to add a little something new to it. A couple of years ago it was a big zombie carousel swing set. This year, there’s a cool spider web that kids have to climb under to get the candy.”
Stephanie went on, “I’ve been doing this since I was in high school, and I loved scaring the neighborhood kids! The young ones would start off nervous, staying on the other side of the street, and every year they’d get a little braver and come closer, until they are begging to go to ‘the scary house.'”
Marc passed away four years ago, but the Pearl family continues his tradition of being the scary house, and they have raised thousands of dollars for charity while doing so. Stephanie said, “For the last several years we’ve been collecting for the Cranford First Aid Squad, which is near and dear to our family. There’s a collection table in front of our house — just put your donations where the eyeballs are!!”
Cranford is so lucky to have a family like the Pearls, who bring so much joy to kids and adults alike, all while supporting a worthy cause.
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