To call them simply Halloween decorators would be a gross understatement.
They’re the ones who immerse themselves and their homes in the spooky day, sparing no expense to give anyone who dares to be scared a thrill.
They’re referred to as ‘Haunters’.
“We live, eat and breathe this,” revealed Pat Molloy in front of what used to be his front yard on Howe Place in the northwest.
He’s changed the lawn into what he’s dubbing ‘Dead Things and the Hideous Horror on Howe’ — a man-made cemetery whose inhabitants include witches, zombies, and skeletons.
“I’m creating my own little magical world here. People come in and they see it and they dig it.”
It takes weeks to plan and set this all up, but Molloy said it’s really an all-year process. Each Halloween creation follows a theme. One year it may be a graveyard, the next excessive gore.
There’s no such thing as going to a store, buying decorations and sticking them in the ground, not for these Halloween hardcores. Most of what goes out is made by hand; it’s sawed, painted and rigged to operate. It’s then complimented with colourful flood or strobe lighting, scary music and other ghoulish sounds. Molloy even hires actors to assist him with the scares.
There’s another over-the-top graveyard a few blocks away at 2nd Avenue North and Marshall Crescent. Dave Kosik lives there among the frightening creatures he’s given life to.
“I take the last two weeks of October off every year to do this,” he admitted. “Every day I come out and tweak something a little bit and add another prop.”
Both Molloy and Kosik are part of the Canadian Haunters Association Saskatchewan Chapter. The group shares tips on home haunting, building props, costuming and all things Halloween related.
She may not be formally part of that group, yet, but Karen Morley’s definitely got the spirit.
The front entranceway of her home is now transformed into a dimly lit stone dungeon with evil lurking in each corner of the small space. A skeleton falls from the ceiling as the bride of Dracula watches while standing beside a coffin.
“What we do is provide an experience,” said Morley.
Why do they do it?
“As soon as they walk in the yard their faces just light up with smiles…that’s what we do it for, to see the expression on people’s face,” said Kosik.
“The screams, the ooos and the ahhhs of people going ‘this is so great,'” echoed Molloy, who also takes donations to give to the food bank and Hope’s Home.
Any prospective ‘Haunters’ can check out the local Facebook page.