By TEDDYE SNELL
Little ghosts and goblins paying a visit to 402 W. Cherokee Thursday night may be in for a scary surprise, as fog rolls from the porch and they’re greeted by a ghoulish butler holding a tray with a talking skull.
Melody Dudgeon began decorating for Halloween around Oct. 1, and practically every inch of the inside and outside of her home is adorned with a spooky decoration of some sort.
“The butler works on a motion sensor, and both he and the skull speak,” said Dudgeon. “I get started decorating around the first of October. I think it’s fun, and I really enjoy doing it.”
Strands of lights run the length of three porches at the home, along with Chinese lanterns decorated as jack-o’-lanterns. Spider webs, witches and ghosts can be spotted all over the property, as can well over two dozen jack-o’-lanterns.
Some may wonder about the expense involved in such an elaborate display, but Dudgeon is a smart shopper.
“I begin shopping the day after Halloween,” she said. “Everything I have was bought on sale, made at home or purchased at garage sales, except the butler. My boss knows how much I love decorating, and bought the butler for me.”
Dudgeon is also an accomplished gardener, and her yard is teeming with the bright reds, oranges and yellows of fall in her mum displays.
One flowerbed plays host to a strand of goblins that light up.
“My granddaughter made these,” said Dudgeon. “They’re milk jugs with orange lights in them. As it gets darker outside, they really glow a spectacular orange.”
One semi-enclosed porch is home to a picnic table, which is also set in spooky fashion, with spiders on the table, as well as Halloween-themed place settings. Shelves line the walls of the porch, which hold ceramic witches and other Halloween-related pieces.
“I must have made those ceramics 30 years ago, back when everybody was doing ceramics,” said Dudgeon. “I just pack it away every year to use next year.”
Thursday, Dudgeon will set to work in the early afternoon, getting her fog machine ready.
“We’ll have fog rolling from the front porch, and the butler will be there to greet the kids, and I’ll be playing a CD of spooky Halloween sounds,” she said. “I just love seeing all the little kids dressed up. You can tell they’re a little scared, but still want to get a closer look. The older kids just think the decorations are cool.”
Other local folks scare up some fun
Local resident Patti Gulager also enjoys the fall and Halloween.
“I love Halloween colors,” she said. “They’re so warm. My husband loves the decorations and the spooky, scary stuff, especially the trails and the hay rides. We usually have our hay and spider webs in place. My husband has great masks and costumes.”
Carlye Parks was born on Halloween, and loves everything about spooking others. She and a bunch of her friends recently hosted their seventh incarnation of “Oakwood Alley” at 101 S. Harrison, in the Oakwood Addition near Greenwood Elementary School.
The group builds a structure between the homes, complete with spooky hallways, props and actors dressed in ghoulish attire. This year, they doubled their efforts, and are making the event a fundraiser. To gain entry, trick-or-treaters need merely to bring a canned food item. All donations will be taken to the CARE Food Pantry.
“We’ll be open to all trick-or-treaters,” said Parks. “We are so excited, and hope we have lots of kids attend again this year.”
Pam Moore said she’s not doing much this year, but found a unique way to scare trick-or-treaters in the past.
“I would paint scary faces on the elephant ear plants with glow-in-the-dark paint,” said Moore. “That was fun and pretty scary for the little darlings.”