EASTHAM – “I don’t know, I guess I have a warped mind,” said Deb Bedard. “I used to always like watching scary movies and I’ve always liked Halloween.”
Bedard is busy in her yard on Herring Brook Road this month, as she is every October. There’s a lot to do. For instance, while the skeleton bride and groom are in place, she said, “I need to still make the minister. He’ll hold the unholy bible.” For now, she has put the butler between them.
Bedard’s is one of several homes across Cape Cod that take Halloween to a level far beyond a pumpkin and some candy. She is one of those creative souls whose yard is their pallet, and whose inspiration is the haunted holiday.
More than three decades ago, Bedard said, she began putting autumn decorations on her pole lights and then about 25 years ago, “we saw a plastic ghost that lit up in one of the stores and we bought it. It was cute.”
“When my daughter was little, we had the cutesy stuff, said Bedard. “But when she was 18, she said, ‘This stuff is lame.’ She wanted to go scary. She wanted to have a real haunted house, but our house isn’t big enough for that. So we have a haunted yard.”
Bedard’s display will have several themed areas including a preschool with baby zombies, a pet store with caged skeleton pets, a ghost area, a skeleton area, and the skeleton bride and groom married in a cemetery.
Bedard said that she is always looking for things to add to her yard for Halloween, as well as for several other holidays. She also decorates her yard for Christmas, Valentines Day (weather dependent), St. Patrick’s Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, as well as the summer season.
“I grew up in a creative house,” she said. She can recall, as a child, working on craft projects together with her great-grandmother, her grandmother, and her mother.
Bedard explained, “When the catalogs come into the house, I’m the kind of person who goes through it and checks off everything I like and then I throw it away. But when the Halloween catalog comes, I don’t throw that away.”
Bedard has shopped in catalogs, the Spirit Halloween store that used to be in Hyannis, the dollar store, and yard sales for items to put into her yard for Halloween. She is retired from a job at Christmas Tree Shops. “That was a good place to get inspiration,” she said.
When she has time, Bedard looks for things to add to her display.
“I saw a pile of junk on the side of the road that people were getting rid of,” she said. “They had an old dog cage in there. I said, ‘Can I take it?,’ and they said, ‘Sure.’ I have an area I designate as the pet store. I have a skeleton cat and dog, Rats, crows, bats in a cage. I buy those things. Mainly I buy them at the Dollar Store.”
But there is another level to Bedard’s creativity than shopping and arranging things, especially in her display of human-sized figures.
“It’s much cheaper to make your own figures than to buy them,” she said. “Most of these figures are like 200 bucks a piece. I get stuff on clearance, or I make it. For instance, she has made ghosts out of tomato cages with a plastic pumpkin head on top, covered by a white tablecloth.
“There’s a lady in Wellfleet up on Route 6,” said Bedard. “She told me how to do it. She makes her own figures. There are so many people stopping to take pictures, so I stopped there when she was outside and I just asked her.”
Meanwhile, In Wellfleet
Deb Avila grew up in Provincetown but bought her house on Route 6 in Wellfleet in 1998 “because it was right on the highway and I could do a bigger thing here.”
Avila, a Wiccan, said Halloween is “my favorite holiday ever.” Her Halloween yard, she said, is “a gift to the community and to the people who love Halloween.”
Hers is an eye-catching display of creativity on the Cape’s only road to the end of the Outer Cape.
“I make everything,” said Avila, who declined to have her photo taken. “If you can’t afford it, you make it,” she said. Her yard includes an year-round life-sized horse that, she said, took her several weeks to make but has aged in the weather and is in need of repair.
Among the other figures she has made are those covered with the outfits of the musicians from the band KISS, each with a face from the scream mask. To be careful of trademark infringement, she calls the band, SICK.
“The sister of Gene Simmons stopped here,” said Avila. “The KISS group knows about it. She introduced herself. She said, ‘My brother would love this.’”
In early October, Avila is also in the beginning stages of setting up her Halloween display. Located on Route 6, she said her yard has become something of a Halloween destination.
Besides getting more than 300 trick-or-treaters on Halloween night, Avila said tour buses full of older adults stop every year in later October. “I started it for the kids,” she said. “But then I noticed how much the grown-ups like it. The old people act just like little children.”
Here is our Halloween Lawn Art Slideshow from 2015
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