Laurinda Titus-Luciano and son Gino, 15, run the family business, Spooky's Halloween Town, along with Titus-Luciano's daughter, Audrey, 16 (not shown).

The family that scares together...

By Nancy Arcayna

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Laurinda Titus-Luciano stands behind such mottos. A single mother of two children, she decided not to let any obstacles get in the way of her happiness and success.

"I wanted to create freedom for myself so that I could be with my children every day. That was really important to me," Titus-Luciano said.


She found a way by opening several businesses including Barnaby Circus, Spooky's Halloween Town, and Absolutely Awesome Home and Business Cleaning Business of Hawaii.

"Helping my mom has taught me a lot about team support and team spirit -- that things aren't just done by one person," said Titus-Luciano 15-year-old son, Gino.

Gino dresses up in mascot costumes to assist his mom in her clown persona, "Miss Happy Day," at children's parties. He also acts as a demon in the haunted house.

"It's not the most exciting job and can be really embarrassing at times, but I don't mind doing it," he said. "I've learned a lot about business by watching my mom over the years.

"I've really learned to trust my family. I'm glad we can be together and work at the same time. We always try to strive for more."

Titus-Luciano's 16-year-old daughter, Audrey, has also helped the business evolve. Recently, she decided to take a break and concentrate on her studies, with a goal to enter law school.

This year, Titus-Luciano added an additional costume store and haunted house at Windward Mall.

"I'm still taking baby steps," she said. "You need to know the rules before you can play the game."

The Halloween store started in her living room. "I only had three costumes," she said with a chuckle. When people came, they told her what kind of costume they were seeking. "I'd go in the back room, whip it up and have them pick it up the next day."

Titus-Luciano designed more than 6,000 costumes, most of which were sold. She still keeps some favorites that are used as annual rentals, like mermaids, princesses, knights and animals.

Meanwhile, her Barnaby Circus provides a unique family experience.

Gino, left, and Audrey, when they were 10 and 11, respectively, enjoyed the many opportunities for dress-up that the family business provided.

"It's totally interactive with the audience and is entertaining for both adults and children," she said. "I try to get as many children as I can up on the stage to play maracas, bongos and dance in a Vaudeville skit."

Titus-Luciano started working on the SS Catalina as a magician's assistant when she was 15. A few years later, she traveled with Bob Hope's USO show as a clown and a magician's assistant.

Most of her family members are self-taught entrepreneurs. One of her sisters, in Arizona, runs a Halloween store, and manufacturers her own lingerie. Her other sister is a horse breeder.

"We all do our own thing. I guess it's all in the blood," Titus-Luciano said.

"When I was 2, my mom started me in the entertainment business, in a hula group in Wisconsin," said Titus-Luciano, who played drums with her musician dad by the age of 10.

"One of the biggest lessons I could pass down to my kids is to watch me and see that no matter what obstacles get in my way, I can conquer it," she said.

By setting an example, it's a greater lesson than any classroom lesson. And by being creative, it's rubbed off on her children, she explained.

"In life there are issues in everything that transpires," she said. "If you can deal with them in a productive way, you can really become a winner in any kind of situation. Hopefully, they both go to college. If they don't choose to be professional people, at least they have received other tools to help them be successful. I want to make sure that they are prepared, no matter what they do."

Do It Electric
Click for online
calendars and events.

E-mail to Features Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Calendars]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --