An Arlington Heights man whose free and elaborate Halloween displays became an annual spooky tradition died Monday.
Michael Podlin requested that his ashes be included in the family's 2018 Halloween presentation, his wife, TammySue Margalit, said.
"He wants to be part of the display," she said, noting she and her husband shared a love of scary things and Halloween. "I'm trying to find someone to make a skull urn that we can put in the window so he can see all the kids."
Podlin, 55, knew last October he was dying of pancreatic cancer but insisted they turn their Arlington Heights home into a scary spectacular with lights, music, moving creatures and live characters for the 17th consecutive Halloween. The display took about six weeks to set up and included a pair of 12-foot wooden skeletons that took Podlin about 1,000 hours to make.
"I do it for the kids and everyone else," Podlin said last Halloween. "It's fun to get handwritten letters from little kids. It's a passion that I live for."
Diagnosed in March 2016, Podlin lived longer than doctors predicted, Margalit says. He died at home in the arms of his wife and their son, Sam, who turned 17 last Halloween, and their daughters, Sabrina, 16, and Ginger, 14.
A memorial Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Alphonsus Church, 411 N. Wheeling Road, Prospect Heights. Condolence calls can be made at the Margalit/Podlin home from 3 to 8:30 p.m. on June 19, 20 and 21. In lieu of flowers, contributions and/or food trays may be brought to the home.