When most people think of epic holiday decoration displays, chances are the first thing that pops into mind is Christmas.
And rightfully so, but we’re here to remind you not to sleep on Halloween.
Just think about it for a minute. You’ve got things like witches, ghosts, spiders, gravestones, movie characters and more at your disposal – and from there, it really just depends on what scare level you’re looking to achieve. We love a good scare, but since Halloween is sort of for little kids, there’s got to be a little balance.
For Jeff and Jill Shaw on View Street, they’ve been at the Halloween decorating game for more than two decades. They have become a destination of sorts in the Concord area and it’s easy to see why.
While set up is usually the last weekend in September, this year the Shaws put it all together a little earlier on Sept. 23. It’s a one-day affair, taking about five hours, and has really turned into a neighborhood gathering. The local kids come by to help, they play scary music and have pizza when it’s done.
Most of their front yard is a graveyard, filled with bones, tombstones and a hand-built coffin. There are skeletons everywhere, a gigantic spider with really cool bloodshot eyes and what appears to be a wrapped up piece of prey in front of him, a large grim reaper skeleton hanging from a tree and Freddy Krueger lurking on the porch. Every year, they add a new piece to the display – this year it’s a possessed baby for the graveyard chosen by their son, Oliver.
“It’s been done piece by piece,” Jill said. “As the older our kids get, the bigger it has gotten.”
Both Oliver and his sister Sophie are really into Halloween and will likely do this kind of decorating when they’re older.
“I know it’s going to pass on,” Jill said.
On Halloween night, Jeff dresses up as Michael Myers, and Jill will probably be a witch. She invites her kindergarten students from Beaver Meadow, and the older kids get a great scare from it. The Shaws see a lot of familiar faces each year – they even set up a fire pit for marshmallows in the driveway.
“People come to get pictures with my husband,” Jill said. “We have a lot of people who drive here for it, and come back every year.”
Morgan MacKenzie and her parents have been putting together a spooky scene for as long as she can remember, the last decade or so on Eastside Drive.
“We always have it up by the first week of October,” MacKenzie said.
They made all the tombstones in the large graveyard – that’s lined with skull fencing – complete with their own sayings and movie quotes. There’s a deranged tree, a black cat that lights up, ghosts, skeletons and a man that’s trying to dig his way out from being buried a little too soon.
“We’ve always done a graveyard scene,” MacKenzie said.
It’s so popular that the residents from Havenwood will take a bus over to check it all out.
“We get people that will ask if they can walk around it,” she said. “People look forward to it each year.”
For John and Sheri LaCasse, their Broadway scene is their third iteration in Concord. They’ve done it in Penacook and on Mountain Road, but have now brought their show to the South End.
There are a few ghosts, grave stones, lots of pumpkins, but it’s not over the top scary. Since they’re in a popular spot for trick-or-treating – John said they’ll probably get more than 300 kids on Halloween – which is why he dresses up to hand out candy.
“It makes you feel good that the kids enjoy it,” LaCasse said.
A lot of the tombstones came from his father-in-law, while other pieces have been collected over the years at yard sales and various stores.
“We like keeping the tradition going,” LaCasse said.
While the neighborhood kids enjoy it, LaCasse does it just as much for himself, as he’s always been a huge fan of Halloween.
And while each display we found is great, we know there are a lot more out there. So drive around and see what you can find. If you find a spooky scene that you feel we need to know about, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with an address and if we get enough, we’ll go out for next week’s issue and take some pictures.