If you think Halloween is zanier and more over the top than when you were a kid, you're not imagining things. Halloween is reaching new heights...
If you think Halloween is zanier and more over the top than when you were a kid, you’re not imagining things.
Halloween is reaching new heights in popularity. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are projected to spend $4.96 billion on this Halloween, up from $3.29 billion last year.
That’s a lot of fake chainsaws.
We asked digs readers to show us what they do with all those spiders, tombstones, skeletons, fog machines and other creepy supplies that are being snatched up at stores. The response was impressive.
Most Read Life Stories
- Why Aisha Ibrahim is the perfect chef for Canlis at the perfect time, and how she earned Seattle’s most coveted restaurant job
- We check out T-Mobile Park's new food and entertainment options
- Staff at Seattle chef Edouardo Jordan's restaurants quits following sexual misconduct allegations
- Past, present, future: As Canlis plans to reopen its dining room, its owners reflect on an intense pandemic year
- Banh mi, Russian dumplings and an affordable family feast await you in Kirkland
We’re sharing a few of the bone-rattling fun homes here.
James Sutherland and Don Zimmer decided one day to name their block “Trick-or-Treat Street.” Five years later, their neighbors also are in the spirit of Halloween, and in October, their residential lane in Seattle’s Montlake neighborhood transforms into Halloween central.
Neighbors decorate their yards with elaborate Halloween-themed décor, the number of trick-or-treaters has ballooned to 200 and a walking club even changes course to include their street for the month.
Skeletons celebrate in front of Sutherland and Zimmer’s house every October. They’ve had a birthday party for a pumpkin king, stayed up all night for a slumber party and held a garden party.
This year, the skeletons are dressed in bathing suits for a beach party. They drink bug juice, lounge in a kiddie pool and play badminton over a webbed net. Some of them even resemble people Sutherland and Zimmer know.
The passion for Halloween grew from Sutherland’s love for Day of the Dead, a Nov. 1-2 holiday in Mexico celebrating deceased ancestors. Decorating with skeletons was an easy way to celebrate both holidays.
“For us, it’s exciting,” Sutherland said. “All the kids pass by screaming and laughing. It feels like a gift we give to the neighborhood.”
Devoted in Lake Forest Park
Growing up in rural Oregon, Doug Woods found that Halloween didn’t live up to his expectations, with just one or two trick-or-treaters knocking at the door every year.
But he married a woman whose mother had a Martha Stewart-like devotion to Halloween décor. In Doug’s words, wife Sherri “trained” him. She took charge of the interior, while he worked on the outside.
And together, they mastered the art of attracting trick-or-treaters. At their last home in Portland, where they had a friendly competition with their neighbors, plenty of media exposure and full-size candy bars as treats, they drew up to 2,500 kids a year.
“It was like a scene out of ‘E.T.,’ ” Sherri Woods said. “They’d be lined up down the pathway and the whole block.”
Now, a much more manageable 350 show up at their Lake Forest Park home, where they moved six years ago. Monsters and princesses alike are drawn to the house by a yard that glows with orange lights, bloody masks with bulging eyes and a huge ghost in a tree. Doug also had a friend help him rig up three ghoulish heads that pop up by the entryway.
Inside, vintage Halloween cats and pumpkin heads decorate the dining room, light bulbs glow orange and paraphernalia collected over 31 years elicits requests from parents to step inside.
The Woodses have enough of a reputation that they have regular trick-or-treaters.
“It’s fun to watch them grow up,” Sherri Woods said.
Brier’s cobweb house
When you cover the front of your house with 5,000 feet of clothesline to make a giant spider web, you are obsessed.
Ron Magnuson has loved Halloween since he was a kid decorating his parents’ basement and popping heads off dolls for props. He also has set up haunted houses, but decorating his Brier yard is more difficult.
“Doing a haunted house is so much easier than this. A haunted house is jumping out and scaring kids,” he said. “This is visual. There is so much more detail.”
He turns his lawn into a graveyard, including gravediggers, a shuddering coffin and a man rising out of the ground. Ghosts “fly” overhead, and masks blink ominously from a wall of corn husks.
“Every day I come here and find something to put in the yard,” Magnuson said.
The house has become such an attraction that they started taking food-bank donations. But this year, they are taking donations for a park bench to honor Brier police officer Edwanton “Eddie” Thomas, who died Sept. 12.
“I always knew (Ron) had the Halloween bug,” said wife Shelly Magnuson. “But this is elaborate.”
Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or firstname.lastname@example.org