Trick-or-treating wasn’t the only Halloween activity on DeWitt’s to-do list for the holiday. DeWitt takes Halloween to the next level by incorporating a weekend-long house decoration contest into the festivities.
“It’s to really thank the people in the community for going all out and decorating at holiday time,” said Loretta Spinrad, from the DeWitt Area Chamber of Commerce. “So, we have a contest to get other residents to go out and look at the decorations. We award winners basically to say thank you.”
“Some of those houses that are decorated are phenomenal,” said Spinrad. “Some of these people go all out, and it’s just unbelievable where are this stuff comes from and how much they’ve invested in this. Some of them have smoke, lights, moving objects, and sound.”
This year only 10 houses were entered into the contest. This number is a decrease from the previous year, which was 18. However, the lower number of houses in the contest didn’t take away from homeowners showing their Halloween spirit and taking part in the festivities. DeWitt Residents, Arlyn and Stuart King, have fully embraced the contest and are intending on taking home the prize this year.
“We love Halloween,” said Stuart King. “Halloween brings the community together, and I was hoping the contest would help bring people through.”
The Kings’ yard is one of the most creative, with everything being built by hand. The props and characters in the haunted house move via electric motors and tell a creative story to go along with it to make it even more unique.
“I think a really fun part of Stuart’s creations is that they are unique,” said Arlyn King. “You can’t purchase them anywhere because they come out of his imagination. A lot of the items are found items, and we find things that people threw out and we incorporate it.”
“We chose the theme haunted house,” said Stuart King. “Once that was selected, then it was a matter of making it all happen. Every year is something brand new.”
Across town, another home is showing the Halloween spirit by going with a pirate theme this year. Jack and Pat Crick have incorporated a coffin, a jail cell, and even gallows in their creation.
“We have been in the contest for four years. Our grandson was really into Halloween, so we started decorating more and more,” said Jack Crick. “The first year we one this thing, and the second year we were an honorable mention. So, this year we decided to embellish it even more.”
“My wife decorated the whole thing; the whole nine yards,” said Crick.
In DeWitt, it’s not about who had the best decorations, though.
“The biggest part was seeing the kids, 10, 12, and 14-year-olds, coming up and thanking us for putting up the display,” said Crick. “They realize the hard work that gets put into the decorating and the setup. They seem to get a real kick out of it.”
“We have had a lot of great comments about it,” said Spinrad. “People enjoy having us bring attention to what is out there. They like to drive around and look at them, and I think it’s a way homeowners can say it was worth it. As long as people came around and had a good time, that is what it’s about.”