Boo! Plenty of cool Halloween decorations

A house at 321 Gunnison Ave. is decorated for Halloween with five cloaked figures gathered for a seance in front of a white piano.

One of my most vivid memories of trick-or-treating as a child is a dinner for the dead at Dr. Orr’s old house on Aspen Avenue in Fruita.

Mrs. Orr decorated her front room with the scene, “dead” people sitting around a table in their finery. She invited us inside and we gawked at the dead folks while she doled out Tootsie Rolls.

I kept expecting one of the dinner guests to come alive and snatch my candy or something. It is one of those deliciously fake-scary moments I miss as an adult.

Sure, anyone can carve a pumpkin and stick a candle in it, but homemade Halloween decorations are much more involved and impressive. I’m not talking about the blow-up decorations you can buy at a big-box store. There are still people who really get into Halloween and go all out for your enjoyment.

Witches bubble, toil and trouble around a cauldron in the front yard of Richard and Lindsay Keller’s home at 3759 Christensen Court in Grand Junction. Monstrous tarantulas perched on the roof wait to wrap you in their sticky webs, and their victims hang cocooned in their silky tombs.

Then I noticed the windows. Bloody handprints streaked the glass, with “Help me” scrawled in red, reminiscent of REDRUM in “The Shining.”

At 321 Gunnison Ave. in Grand Junction, five cloaked figures gather for a séance in front of a white piano with a skull and candles. On the right side of the yard, behind the graveyard, a cute garden wishing well is transformed by Samara, the creepy ghoul girl from “The Ring” movie, crawling out of the well to get you!

If you reach the porch, you’ll see a hanging man, spinning, and an animated witch surrounded by body parts and vampire blood. Listen for the sound of the chanting figures and the slow heartbeat of whoever might still be alive.

James and Mae Collier are the creative folks behind this Halloween awesomeness. The Colliers created 
maximum creepiness for minimum money. Some of their decorations are from years past, but the cloaked figures in the yard are simply dark-colored sheets, cleverly arranged over poles with $1 pumpkins for heads and shaped with welded-wire fencing.

James estimates he spent around $30 for the display. The piano was already a fixture in their yard — it’s a fountain James built — and they decided to decorate it as a tribute to “Phantom of the Opera.” All the gravestones are homemade, and the body parts include intestines crafted from a hose to a CPAP machine.

Halloween is clearly their favorite holiday. The scarier, the better. The Colliers acknowledge that their display might be a little intense for some.

“It’s not Halloween unless a kid cries,” James said.

In past years, the neighbors’ kids have been so terrified of the Colliers’ Halloween gauntlet that they convinced their parents to go get candy for them.

I think it might give me nightmares, and I toured their yard in the daytime.

On another note ...

If you are interested in starting your own Cottage Food business, you can sign up for a free half-day class at the Business Incubator Center. The class will cover all the legal details of starting a own home-based food business in accordance with Colorado’s new law that went into effect this year.

The class will be from 9–11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Incubator Center, 2591 B 3/4 Rd. Call 243-5242 to register.

Erin McIntyre is a writer, master gardener and owner of the gourmet pickle company, Yum Pickles. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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