PANORAMA - Spirit of the season



At the ghost house, 303 E. Birch St., Scott Caldwell's daughter, Quinn Caldwell, 10, spins one of the two ghosts that spend evenings traveling via steel cable from the porch to a tree at the corner of South Palouse Street and East Birch Street and back.


Scott Caldwell places a crow on a scarecrow.


Friends are welcome to rest in peace in this temporary graveyard at a home on East Alder Street.


Hanging pumpkin lights around the railing on his front porch, Scott Caldwell dodges one of his two spirited ghosts. "That happens a lot," he said.

Some folks are just dying to get into the spirit of Halloween.

With a quick ride around town - on broomstick or otherwise - you can take in all sorts of spooky ambience reminiscent of the Munsters' abode.

One real treat is at 303 E. Birch St., known as the "ghost house," where hoards of kids hover on Halloween night to survive its scary decor.

For several years, owner Scott Caldwell has decorated the outside of the house at the corner of Birch and Palouse Street with attention to detail that would rival a movie set.

The main attraction of this seasonal theme yard is the two Styrofoam ghosts that "fly" on a motor-driven cable from his porch to a tree at the corner of the property - and back again.

But there also are the hay bales, spider webs, tombstones, pumpkins, the scarecrow with the twirling head - and all illuminated by red and green spotlights.

"It's been trial-and-error trying to figure all this out," Caldwell said.

But he's had a lot of help, in addition to encouragement, from his friend and neighbor, George Adamson. "He's been my inspiration for all of this," Caldwell said.

Adamson is the wizard behind the yearly eye-popping Christmas display at Sharpstein Manor across the street and provided Caldwell with the cable motor and other supplies.

Adamson has given up creating a full-blown Halloween display at the manor, deferring to Caldwell. "(Adamson) keeps dropping stuff off at my house," Caldwell said.

Caldwell, who has a culinary, artistic background said Halloween has always been a fun time for him and he enjoys sharing his creations with his two children and their friends.

"I do it for the kids - and myself a little bit. And making sure I can outdo George."

Other haunts around town may be less extensive and expensive, but have been created with just as much soul.

Take the eerie yard at 965 Hedine Road, off Plaza Way, for instance.

The owner is Dana Holmes. But the handiwork is that of his fiancee, Guadalupe Godinez, and her 5-year-old daughter, Faith Navarro.

"They asked, ‘Can we set up the house? Can we decorate?'" Holmes recently recalled.

"I said, ‘I've never done anything like this before. But yes, go for it.'"

So with a trip to a local store to buy about $20 of inexpensive merchandise, Holmes' home and yard are appropriately adorned with fake spider webs and skeletons ready to greet trick-or-treaters.

Netting has been affixed to shrubs, trees and to columns of his porch. A witch is at the front door. Windows are backdrops for pumpkins and black cats. A skull decorates a table. Even severed fingers hang from potted plants.

Now, Holmes can't help but get into the act. On Halloween night, he plans to play CDs with ghostly sound effects and shine mysterious lighting displays on those appearing at his doorstep.

It's all about as scary as Casper, but curdling blood never was the point. It's been a fun project for Godinez and Faith.

"And I think it's pretty cute," Holmes said.


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