By Emma Bowen Meyer
For The Herald Bulletin
ALEXANDRIA, Ind. —
When Dennis and Sherry Anderson take on a project, they never do it half way. When they decided to start decorating their yard for Halloween, they took the mission a step further than a couple of jack-o’-lanterns and a scarecrow or two.
“I don’t even really remember how or why we got started,” said Dennis. “Every year we would add to it. She’d just get online sometime in June and start looking at decorations. She found something she liked and I made it.”
“I’d get the idea from pictures but I knew we could get the same effect without spending the money,” added Sherry.
“Our kids were never really into it so it’s funny that we kept at it,” said Dennis.
Decorations began taking over the yard in 2004. Neighbors enjoyed the scene, but since the Andersons lived in a small addition, not many outsiders had the opportunity to benefit from the hard work. As the age of the kids in the neighborhood grew, fewer trick-or-treaters showed up at their door.
When they started to discuss whether they should give up the ghost of the Halloween decorations and move on to another project, family members Scott and Holly Griggs were ready to display the scene on their heavily traveled street in downtown Alexandria.
“We usually get hundreds of kids on Halloween,” said Scott. “The word is getting out about these decorations. I’ve had people stop me at the grocery and mention it. Some neighbors we almost never see came over to talk to us. It’s been a lot of fun.”
“We’ve almost had wrecks out front,” said Holly with a laugh. “People stop their cars to look at the yard.”
The Griggs’ 3-year-old adopted grandson, Kyan, operates the fog machine.
“Sometimes he gets a little carried away and you can’t see anything,” added Scott.
Scott and Sherry are brother and sister. Scott Griggs works in restaurant repair with Vanco; Holly Griggs is a phlebotomist at Saint John’s; Dennis Anderson works in metal fabrication and Sherry Anderson is a waitress at Hoosier Park.
Many of the pieces light up at night, while sound effects are designed to terrify children and adults alike.
“My favorite part is when the adults are just as scared as the kids,” said Dennis. “It’s fun to see people’s reactions and the looks on their faces.”
Dennis and Sherry are planning to spend Halloween night with Scott and Holly, handing out candy in full costume. Scott will be an evil jester, Holly a vampire, Kyan a scary monster, Sherry a zombie, and Dennis’ alter-ego is still under wraps.
“We will still make something to add to the display every year,” said Dennis.
“And Dennis and Sherry will have to split the cost of candy with us, too,” added Scott with a laugh.
Each week, Emma Bowen Meyer features a Madison County home. If you know of a home that should be showcased, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.