Archive for Thursday, October 18, 2001

A ghostly bit of Halloween fun

October 18, 2001

At first glance when driving by Larry Stephan's De Soto home at 33565 W. 84th St., one might think he was holding a yard sale for Dracula.

But the haunting reality is, Stephan and his family simply like to decorate his home to the hilt at Halloween and hopefully scare some folks along the way.

Stephan said he and his wife, Zola, have decorated this house for Halloween for 30 years. He said the main reason he works to decorate with such elaborate decor is he enjoys the children who come for a ghoulish visit.

"It's such a big yard, that and the kids, they always look forward to it every year," he said.

On the exterior, homemade wooden characters decorate the lawn, house and sidewalk. Images of the headless horseman, Frankenstein and the common white-sheet ghost can be found upon arrival to the Stephan's front door images that trick-or-treaters can be guaranteed to see on Halloween night.

Stephan will add to the spooky element with haunting sounds being pumped through speakers in the front yard. As an added bonus, he'll be dressed up to help give additional scares.

"I don't know what I'm going to be (dressed up) this year," he said. "I might just dress up as a clown with a devil's mask."

The house's exterior isn't the only thing dressed for the occasion. After a trick-or-treater gets some candy, they can, if they dare, enter the front porch where more of the dark decor can be found.

Stephan may claim his motive for decorating the house is purely to watch young children enjoy the work, but daughter Michelle Green believes he has other motives.

"He just likes to scare the crap out of them," she said. "What's funny is when a parent won't come up (to the house) but their child will."

Aside from the scares, the preparation of the Stephan house is a family affair. Larry cuts out the decorative shapes and Zola paints them. After any new creatures are finished for the scares, the two, along with other family members such as Green and her children, prepare the house and yard for the big day.

Zola said she enjoys decorating the house for Halloween, but she prefers to decorate for the Christmas holiday her favorite.

"He (Larry) does Halloween and I do Christmas," she said.

"We get people calling us, they want to know if we've got the (Christmas) lights on before they come over," Larry said.

But first, the Stephans will work to ensure those coming to visit their homes this year get what they're looking for ... a good scare and some candy.

"We scare the big (kids), but we don't always scare the little ones," Zola said.

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