The biggest kick Carlye Parkes gets on her birthday is scaring the wits out of people.
Parkes was born on Halloween, and for the past five years, she and her friends, Brandon and Jennifer Taylor, have constructed a haunted house at 101 S. Harrison in the Dogwood Addition near Greenwood Elementary School.
“It’s a one-night only thing, and has grown from what was a tiny area in the front yard to this elaborate structure with several hallways and rooms,” said Parkes.
The driveway of the home is blocked by rickety wooden fencing that has been painted in neon shades with scary shapes, skulls, eyes and bats.
“Over the years, when we’ve seen people take fencing down, we’ve asked for it just so we can use it for this purpose,” said Parkes. “We even got some from the elementary school when they were taking their fences down.”
Parkes dresses up, and since it’s her birthday, she serves as the gatekeeper.
“Oh, yes, I dress up and greet people at the door, and get to scare the crap out of people,” she said. “It’s so much fun, and it’s unbelievable the number of people who come. We have them lined up all the way up the hill.”
The home sits on a cul-de-sac, which adds to the frightening effect on Halloween night. Construction begins around fall break each year and continues right up until Oct. 31.
“We’ll have bones and skulls in this area, and the entire structure will be covered in black plastic, so it won’t be open at the top,” said Parkes. “We’ll have black lights, strobe lights, a fog machine, creepy music, and of course, people dressed up will be hiding all over the place.”
Parkes said while the event is free and is held only on Halloween, they’re looking to change things up next year.
“Next year, we’re thinking we’ll put it up early, charge admission and donate the funds to charity,” said Parkes.
Those participating in the haunted house will be treated – or tricked – to a graveyard room, a mad scientist room, haunted bedroom, and a spider room.
“This is really big with the teenagers,” said Parkes. “Those of us who work it use codes words for kids we really want to scare; with the little ones, if they come through, we don’t scare them. We greet them with ‘hello,’ and give them candy.”
NSU staffer Olga Hoenes said her husband, Richard, was excited about his first Halloween in Tahlequah.
“He just knew we would have gobs of trick-or-treaters,” said Hoenes. “Coming from south Philly, he didn’t have many callers. It’s not a real safe place, south Philly. He has been disappointed ever since he came. My co-workers talk of the hundreds of trick-or-treaters they get, and we’ve only seen a few. I hope this year is better.”
Renee LaCombe’s entire family gets into the swing of Halloween, complete with costumes.
“This year, all four of us painted ourselves up in ghoulie fashion, then we went to the Haunted Castle [in Muskogee] and scared people in the Ultimate Maze. Such fun, until we couldn’t find our way out!”
Local resident Velma Coon-Santos is spending this Halloween in her own home, and is looking forward to hosting trick-or-treaters in grand style next year.
“This is my first Halloween in my own house,” she said. “My hubby and I decided not to go big this year, since he has to work, but hopefully when things go on clearance, I can stock up to decorate big next year. I plan to give out candy [this year], though.”
Tahlequah native Robbie Frank has fond memories of Halloween.
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