Screenshot: YouTube

Visitors to the headquarters of the New York Police Department’s 78th precinct on 6th Avenue in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood will find that the basement is currently home to some murderous psychopaths, disembodied heads (and other body parts), and a whole slew of ghouls and monsters. But they need not be alarmed: It’s all part of a very unorthodox public outreach program. The lower level of the building has currently been converted into a makeshift haunted house in time for the Halloween season. In fact, the police have allowed Gothamist to visit the location and film a video of the tour, with a sinister clown leading the way. The authorities are well aware that people generally find police precincts to be pretty scary places just as they are, but they’re hoping that this “haunted basement” program helps to soften their image a little. Captain Frank DiGiacomo elaborates:

The reason we’re doing it is because 90 percent of people come into police precincts for bad things. They don’t come in for good things. So we want to get the kids and the teenagers to meet the police and come into the station house for something good, like a haunted house.

Creating the haunted basement was no easy task. Just cleaning out the necessary space took, by DiGiacomo’s estimate, about a year. Creating the haunted house itself took an additional month. The work was all done by officers who came in on their own time or during the weekends to get the job done. As the video indicates, it’s a legitimately unnerving experience. A huge part of the creep factor is simply due to the fact that it’s taking place in the dimly lit basement of a large, imposing building. With their brick walls and exposed pipes, the corridors down there really do give off a credible dungeon-like feel. Which is to say that it was a scary place before they filled it with Halloween props.

[via Laughing Squid]