“It sort of grew,” Bullis, 46, who is an electrical engineer by training, said of his project.
He started in 2011 with 1,000 lights and it has grown each year. Most of the lights are LED and it costs him about $35 to run it for the Halloween season. This year’s display is set to “Downtown” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
He said his three children and wife help him set up the displays and he spends hours on the technical side to set up switches, music and computer animation. Monster faces lip-sync the songs. The music can be heard on 98.1 FM.
He runs the light show from 7 to 9 p.m., but not on Halloween night because of safety concerns about cars and kids. He said it sometimes draws as many as 100 viewers per hour, especially on weekends.
Bullis originally got the idea of a big-scale light display of a train for Christmas after his oldest daughter saw a similar holiday display in Texas. Now in Leesburg, he also has a roughly 8-foot-long train display and holiday-themed display that he puts up around Christmas.
“Once you figure out how to switch one light on and off, making 3,000 switch on and off is just replicating it 3,000 times,” he said.
He has about 20,000 YouTube followers for his Halloween light display.
How do his neighbors like it? Often, he said, they want to know early in the season what songs he is going to pick or when it will go up.
“They say it is so great for the community,” he said. “It’s a chance where we all get to come together.”