Commack Family Decorates Its Home Every Halloween For A Good Cause
October 31, 2023 at 4:00:00 PM
COMMACK, NY — The McMahon-Alesi family of Commack is set to unveil the 2023 edition of its Halloween home spectacular, The Peppermint Chop Shop, later this month.
From 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 28 and Oct. 31, people can visit 4 Peppermint Road, Commack, to take in the spooky home attraction. While the event is free, the family is asking for donations that will go back to the Daniela Conte Foundation, which helps families dealing with pediatric cancer, and other local families in need.
The events will feature live actors walking inside and outside the "cemetery," an emcee, fire, and free pastries courtesy of europastry, said Nicole Alesi. Peppermint Road will be shut down for safety, and people can walk around, interact with the actors, take photos and admire the decorations.
Alesi, 35, has been decorating the home with her family since she was 15.
Alesi and her parents, Rich and Christine McMahon; brother, Shaun; and husband, Steve, are all involved. Even Alesi's 3-year-old son helps out now.
"We love Halloween," Alesi told Patch. "It’s just an opportunity for us to really just be creative, have a great family bonding moment and just be able to give back to these families in the communities. We really enjoy having the families come and having these experiences with each other and make memories with their kids."
The family began decorating on a "really small" scale 20 years ago. They would scare trick 'r treaters who came to the door. Then they started adding decorations.
"Before we knew it, we were completely transforming our house into this big haunted house and the whole front yard," Alesi said.
By 2010, the project became a "really, really big" endeavor.
The Peppermint Chop Shop is set to be available to the public on Oct. 28 and Oct. 31. The McMahon-Alesi family of Commack decorates the home each Halloween, raising money for good causes in the process. (Credit: Nicole Alesi)
Alesi said for people visiting the family's home this Halloween season, it marks an opportunity for them to give back to a good cause. The funds will either help the Daniela Conte Foundation or local families in need with help from the Commack School District.
The Daniela Conte Foundation's mission is providing financial assistance to families of children with cancer, raising awareness for pediatric cancer, and helping find a cure by funding rhabdomyosarcoma research.
Daniela Conte died peacefully on March 2, 2020, her family said. Daniela battled rhabdomyosarcoma since 2016. Her parents, Anthony and Katia Conte, founded the not-for-profit organization the year they lost their daughter.
Helping pediatric cancer patients is a "really important cause," Alesi said.
'There are kids in the Commack School District that were suffering from cancer," she said. "We just felt this was something really important to help out with. It was an opportunity for us to give back to them in any way. We just thought, how could we not help out with pediatric cancer?"
Alesi thanked her family members and friends who have helped out and/or visited over the years. But her family gets a special thrill hearing strangers share fond memories of the decorated home.
"It’s really nice to hear people tell us now that coming to our house years ago is such a memory that them and their kids will never forget," Alesi said. "It’s a staple in their childhood memories. It’s a really nice thing to hear when people say that. It’s people who we don’t know or people who we meet for the first time who say, 'Oh, we’ve been coming to your house for years,' or 'My kids are in college and we went there, and that’s something that will last with us forever,' or ‘'Thank you, it’s been awesome to get to go there with our families.'"
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