Creepy attraction: Homeowners expect faux graveyard to be a kid magnet on Halloween

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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It’s amazing what a kid will do for candy.

Unlike zombies, vampires and ghosts, the spirit of dressing up and trick or treating for Halloween is far from dead.

Halloween is the fourth most popular holiday in terms of consumer spending, trailing only Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter according to Alliance Data Retail Services.

Grave Matters

GRAVE MATTERS – Cassey and Craig Freeman, along with their daughters Avery, 6, and Chayse, 8, have transformed their yard into a graveyard for Halloween. Last year their home attracted about 400 trick or treaters. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Plenty of local residents are in on the fun, including the Freeman family.

Their home on College Street in Decatur is becoming a favorite stop for Halloween sight-seers.

When night settles, eerie blue and purple lights shine on a makeshift mortuary sprawling across the front yard. Skeletons dredge themselves up from the earth among headstones, and fake cobwebs coat the open caskets.

DEAD ALIVE – Avery Freeman and the rest of her family plan to dress up as zombies during Halloween tomorrow night. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“We added a lot this year,” Cassey Freeman said. “We do it for our kids. Halloween is a time for kids to be kids. They love dressing up.”

“None of this stuff scares me,” said their 6-year-old daughter, Avery, “as long as there’s no clowns.”

The undead home attracts hordes of kids.

“Last year we had 300 to 400 kids stop by,” Craig said. “This year we started stockpiling bags of candy in September. We’ll hand out about $200 worth of candy.”

The Freemans are not alone. As many as 158 million Americans will participate in Halloween consumer spending according to the National Retail Federation. The average American spends about $75 on decorations, candy and costumes – an estimated $6.9 billion this Halloween season.

Since 2005, spending on Halloween has increased by more than 50 percent.

The Freemans’ idea to go all-out on decorating came on a whim.

“Last year we lost all of our Halloween decorations to a fire in our garage,” Craig said.

“We are at Garden Ridge, and we just had an impulse to create a graveyard,” Cassey said.

This Halloween the entire family is dressing up as zombies.

“Zombies are the new vampires,” Cassey said.

And it’s a sure bet that hordes of little costumed visitors will nervously make their way through a foggy graveyard filled with skeletons and a zombie family – just to get a piece of candy.

TRUNK OR TREAT – The First United Methodist Church in Decatur will host its annual Trunk or Treat event 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30. Guests are invited to wear their costumes and come enjoy games, crafts, food and lots of candy. The event will be held in the fellowship hall due to the expected inclement weather.

SWEET TREATS – Truck or Treat at First Baptist Church in Decatur is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, in the parking lot. There will be hayrides, games, prizes, hot dogs and candy.

HAUNTED HOUSE – Alvord Project Graduation 2014 will hold a haunted house at the old middle school, located behind Alvord Express, 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31.

COSTUME PARADE – Bridgeport Main Street’s Suit Up and Say Boo Halloween parade is 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. It will begin at the Bridgeport Stage and proceed down Halsell Street. For more information, call 940-683-3404.

HALLOWEEN FUN – Governor’s Ridge in Decatur will host a fall festival 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. There will be free hot dogs and chips, bounce house, games, trick or treating, apple bobbing, face painting, cotton candy and prizes.

HALLOWEEN EVENT – The Rock Church in Runaway Bay will hold Trunk or Treat 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31. The event will include free food, inflatables, candy and a hayride. The church is located at 513 Port-O-Call. For more information, call 940-575-9229.

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