Sure, the dentist in Clifton on Grove Street might be famous for his holiday decorations, but Montclair has its own amazing holiday light show on Myrtle Avenue, thanks to Matt Carino, who pulls out all the stops to create a holiday display worthy of Dyker Heights.
Carino, who is studying lighting at Pace University’s School of Performing Arts in New York City, and in his second year of the Production and Design for Stage and Screen BFA program, has been involved in theater lighting since elementary school at Edgemont, participating in the Tech Crew at Mt. Hebron and four years of SVPA at MHS, including as the Head of Lights his junior and senior year.
Carino became interested in lighting at a young age when he was exposed to the lighted wire frame animal figure displays at the Bronx Zoo and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney World. The Christmas light displays began when Carino was about 12. He started with old-fashioned strings of C7s and C9s (traditional incandescent bulbs) and blow molds, but his displays have evolved into a sophisticated “design and production.”
Past holiday displays featuring lighted wire frames have included a Valentine’s Day heart, a Halloween pumpkin, an earth day globe, a winking Easter rabbit, and a snowman and skating polar bears.
Carino’s theme for Christmas 2017 is Holly Jolly Holiday, his most ambitious display to date, featuring a star at the top of his family’s three-story house, a 40 foot “mega tree” and about 80,000 lights!
Planning for the displays starts at the beginning of the year, with Carino factoring in the theme, lay-out, colors and any special elements he wants to incorporate. Now that he is away at school, Carino begins putting lights up in August. This year, he arranged his schedule to have Fridays off so he could come home for long weekends to finish. The display went live on December 8th when it was finally completed.
Carino’s mom, Marijeanne, says it’s pretty cool to see cars drive by the house and then slow down. “Many people stop, get out and take photos,” she says, adding that there are people who visit the area every year from Argentina and they plan part of their trip to stop by and see the lights!