SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – With Halloween fast approaching, front lawns in KELOLAND have been invaded by giant spider webs, jack-o-lanterns and 12-foot tall skeletons. Some homeowners in Sioux Falls spend thousands of dollars to decorate their houses for spooky season.
For Jacque McNamara, she’s spent close to $10,000 in just two years on Halloween decor. Three years ago, her family moved from the outskirts of Sioux Falls to McKennan Park, a hotspot for trick-or-treating, and quickly began filling their lawn up with spooky decorations.
“I don’t think I would do this if we didn’t live in a neighborhood where there was a lot of activity,” McNamara said. “It’s very expensive to not get a lot of exposure. To have this kind of exposure, it’s fun. People always come by and they thank us and appreciate what we’re doing.”
While McKennan Park houses can see up to 2,000 kids on Halloween night, McNamara said her main reason for the “all out” decor is her 4-year-old grandson who is obsessed with all things skeletons and Halloween.
“If people come walk by and he’s out here, he wants to bring them through and show him everything and take them in the garage. He would even bring them in the house if he could,” she said.
Cathie and Sam Ogdie have lived in McKennan Park since 1991 and collaborate with their neighbors every year to create a graveyard scene in their three front yards. They have a friend who loves decorating for Halloween and has created the spooky concepts for the Ogdie house since 1987. Cathie Ogdie said their friend has spent an additional $500 on decorations this year.
Because McKennan Park gets around 2,000 trick-or-treaters, Ogdie said they spend around $600 on candy.
“We tried to warn the neighbors that there would be a lot of kids when they moved in,” she said.
The number of trick-or-treaters in a neighborhood doesn’t necessarily indicate how festive some people are willing to get. Christa Gudmundson lives on 9th Avenue near Lincoln High School and she says her house only gets about 20 kids on Halloween, but that hasn’t stopped her from creating her “Nightmare on 9th Ave.”
“We don’t have the best neighborhood to trick or treat in. There’s not a lot of lights that are on in these houses,” she said.
Gudmundson’s Halloween obsession began 22 years ago when her son was born on October 30. His birthday parties were always Halloween themed so Gudmundson began collecting decorations and putting them on display throughout October.
According to Gudmundson’s rough estimates, she’s spent several thousand dollars on Halloween decorations over the years.
“I actually got a second job this year to help fund it. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?” she said.
Gudmundson is also participating in the Skeletons for St. Jude fundraiser, a nationwide effort to raise $100,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during the Halloween season.
Despite the expenses and the limited number of trick or treaters in Gudmundson’s neighborhood, she says it’s worth it to see the joy people get from her displays.
“I do this not only because I love it, but because I love the slow drive-bys or people walking by to take a look,” she said. “I especially love to see the kids’ excitement when they see the decorations. That’s what really keeps me going.”
Kris Hicks shares a similar sentiment regarding her collection of inflatable Halloween decorations. Hicks and her husband have been collecting inflatables for 20 years and her favorite part is seeing everyone taking pictures and driving by the house.
“When they get to the corner [of the street] and if they don’t see it, they’ll do a whiplash like ‘Woah!” Then they go around the block and come back again,” she said.
The Hicks have 48 inflatables that wrap around the front of their home, including classic spooky characters, Disney cartoons and the newest addition, a 22-foot tall blow-up mummy.
This year, it took Hicks, her husband and their two adult children 12 hours to set up the display. For all 48 inflatables, they only use two outlets and a whole lot of extension cords. They are currently in the process of redoing their home and plan to add more external outlets specifically for the inflatables.
Hicks said she prefers the blown-up decorations to the more realistic decor because they’re less scary and more fun for the kids. Like some other homeowners, she also couldn’t put an exact price on all the inflatables they’ve gotten over 20 years, but she said it’s in the thousands.
“A lot of them I get on clearance at the end of the year, so I’ll probably pick up some more. I don’t know if I have any more room though,” she said.