-- A home in Virginia has become the epicenter of Halloween celebrations thanks to a light show set to songs like “Downtown” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The show draws hundreds of onlookers each night.
The 30-minute light show features 8,500 lights, according to homeowner and creative mastermind Brandon Bullis. He's been outfitting his Leesburg, Va., home with Halloween and Christmas lights for the past four years.
“The setup takes about 40 hours on the house and each song takes 40 to 50 hours to program and if I have to build light props, that takes as long as it takes me to figure it out,” Bullis told ABC News.
The idea to use the hit song “Downtown” as the focal point of this year’s light show came from neighbors, whom Bullis said are surprisingly accepting of his crowd-drawing hobby.
“We have a single-family home in a bedroom community but so far so good,” said Bullis, who lives in the home with his wife, Nicola, and their three children. “Most neighbors look forward to it and will yell out the windows and clap when I’m setting it up, and they always try to find out which new songs I’m doing.”
“'Downtown’ was recommended to me by a neighbor. After listening to it and tapping my foot I said, ‘I like this. I can do it,’” Bullis said of the catchy song.
Bullis, an electrical engineer by trade who works as a director at a major telecom company, said he was inspired to pick up his extreme hobby after taking his daughter to see a Christmas light display when she was a baby and watching her become entranced by a train in the display.
The Bullis’ light display is a family affair. The youngest Bullis son helps with crowd control and the oldest daughter manages visitor traffic.
Bullis said his wife offers important “moral support.”
“She helps me with the building of the props and a lot of the ‘community relations’ part,” he said. “She talks to the neighbors and if there’s any complaints or concerns, we address them appropriately to everyone’s satisfaction.”
Contrary to how it may appear, Bullis said the light show only adds about $25 to the family’s monthly electric bill.
“We spend more money on candy than we do on the electric bill,” he said. “I use energy-efficient LED lights and most of the lights are off at any one time so it’s not like a Christmas tree with lights running continuously.”
The Bullis family does not charge for the annual Halloween and Christmas light displays, instead leaving a donation box with all proceeds going to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. The family has donated $10,000 to date, according to Bullis.