Fenton — Beginning in September, and sometimes late August, a few local residents get into the Halloween spirit early by decorating their houses with skeletons, ghouls and other spooky creatures.
Christopher Salazar and his wife, Katie, decorate their house on Adelaide Street in Fenton, across from St. John’s Church, every year beginning Sept. 1, on his birthday, to have 60 days of Halloween.
“My wife and I are nuts about Halloween. We believe that it is the one holiday people can express their creative side and fears without being oddly judged,” he said. “We lost count on how much we have between inside and outside decor.”
Currently, their yard is haunted with a 12-foot skeleton, a 12-foot inferno pumpkin, creepy dolls, clowns, a dead bride, grave keepers, skeletons climbing up their roof and a custom-made “Nightmare on Adelaide Street” 6- by 10-foot flag.
“We receive calls about renting some of the animatronics, people honking, yelling out the window how they love them, families taking pictures, traffic stopping to see, even people stopping at our door to let us know they look forward to it every year,” Salazar said.
12-foot-tall skeletons, that can be arranged, dressed and posed, have grown in popularity in recent years. Cauldrons are also popular decorations, usually seen with dark-robed witches standing around. The Salazars also have a 7-foot werewolf and a rocking witch babysitter.
Salazar said their decorations help people get into the holiday spirit and have fun. It takes effort and planning to set up everything and do maintenance due to two months of wind, rain and possible vandalism or theft.
“The holiday is not just based off dressing up and getting candy, but the celebration of any lost family or friends to honor the dead we all have lost,” Salazar said. “We do this not just for our own family but the faces of the community to enjoy.”
The owners are encouraging people who enjoy their decorations to donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Nikki Deardoff and her husband, John, decorated their house on Laura Lane in Linden weeks ago. They have gravesites with lights, skeletons of varying heights, pumpkins and more.
“Halloween is a big part of our family. All four of our kids have grown up liking the holiday. We start setting up our yard in September. We change it up every year. This year is all about these 12-foot skeletons purchased from Home Depot,” Deardoff said.
In August and September, neighbors will ask when they expect to put up decorations. The family also will put up animatronics in their garage on Halloween weekend.
The Deardoffs often go to out-of-state for Halloween decorations. This year, they attended the Midwest Haunters convention in Illinois.
This is Fenton resident Maria Tino’s 15th year decorating their house on S. LeRoy Street.
“I absolutely love Halloween. It’s our family’s favorite holiday. My son Levi loves Halloween just as much as I do,” she said.
They put up indoor decorations Sept. 1 and outdoor decorations Oct. 1 at their house at 604 S. LeRoy Street.
“All year long, Levi and I bounce different ideas off of each other and make new props to create bigger and better displays. We have over 50 handmade props along with some animatronics and store bought decorations. We are running out of room to store everything,” Tino said.
They decided to do a spider theme this year. The house and yard are covered in white webs and crawling spiders, along with a large spider on the roof.
Their house draws a lot of attention and compliments. Even when setting up, people stop by to take photos, and they’re used to the honks and shouts of, “we love your house” as people drive by.
“All day long we see people stopping by to use the photo op area,” she said. “Many people have said they look forward to our Halloween house every year and some ask how we make our props. I hope we’ve inspired some people to decorate their own yards. We get just as excited seeing other people’s decorations as we do our own.”