For 364 days of the year, there's nothing spooky about Lee Ayotte's three-car garage.

For 364 days of the year, there's nothing spooky about Lee Ayotte's three-car garage.

But on Beggars Night, Ayotte goes all out, transforming the garage on his Brownstone Court home in Westerville into a haunted cave for neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

Ayotte's home, in the Brookstone neighborhood near the corner of Hempstead Road and Walnut Street, has become a must-see for neighborhood kids, many of whom have been visiting the haunted cave for years, Ayotte said.

"They just love it. They come by and they say, 'You're not going to fool us this year, Mr. Lee,'" Ayotte said. "I fool kids every year who have been coming by since they were in kindergarten and now they're in high school."

Last year, Ayotte said, he had more than 100 kids tour his haunted garage, in which he's covered the walls with plastic rocks to give a cave-like look and filled the space with scary decorations and life-sized mannequins.

Ayotte and his family, wife Betty and four grown children, also dress up to spook trick-or-treaters further.

Adults waiting for children to go through the haunted cave are served warm apple cider.

Ayotte, who retired from Nationwide after having a stroke in 1999, said Halloween marks one of his favorite times of the year. He said he closes off his garage for most of October to prepare for Beggars Night.

"This thing has grown out of proportion, probably," he said. "My wife gets upset because we have to park our cars outside the garage probably one or two weeks before because I'm working on the garage."

The Ayottes, who have lived in Westerville since 1986 and in their home on Brookstone for 14 years, have been married for 52 years.

Ayotte said not only does he celebrate Halloween in a big way, he and his wife also have dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus for more than 40 years to volunteer at parties and in nursing homes.

Ayotte said Halloween and Christmas are his two favorite holidays, and he thoroughly enjoys going all out for both.

"It's a fun life," he said.