Published October 23 2012
Some F-M homeowners go all out to decorate for Halloween
That’s not to say there aren’t a few exceptions. Some F-M homes are more than ready for the holiday, decorated elaborately with pumpkins, ghosts, ghouls, tombstones and the occasional zombie or gargoyle.
Some setups go friendly, while others go spooky. Whichever the route, these creative homeowners have set the bar high.
With a week left until Halloween, you still have time to go see them for yourself, and maybe get inspired to do your own decorating.
1120 5th Ave. S., Fargo
The walkway leading up to Joe Provost’s home is undeniably ominous: Flanked by pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns, visitors pass impaled skulls, gargoyles and a mad scientist before even reaching the door.
And be sure to look up as you go – there might be a few surprises looking down from the windows.
Provost says his decorations are unique because almost everything in the yard is homemade.
His oldest daughter, Jessica, is a junior at Minnesota State University Moorhead studying theater tech construction, and several of the displays are from past productions.
Visitors can spot the monster plant from “The Little Shop of Horrors,” for example, or items from the cemetery scene from “The Sound of Music.”
In addition to those re-used decorations, Provost says every year he and Jessica create something new for the yard, with Jessica spending several hours working on each item.
Because of how full his yard has become for the display, Provost says he gets quite a few people stopping in the middle of the street to look.
“I kind of feel guilty at times, because it’s caused a few near-accidents,” he says, laughing.
1030 1st St., West Fargo
People passing Marilyn Rudd’s house in West Fargo may notice something unique about her Halloween decorations: everything is friendly. The ghosts are smiling, and the jack-o-lanterns are winking and pretty darn cheerful.
That’s because Rudd wants the decorations to be appropriate for all ages.
“I want it so the little kids aren’t afraid,” Rudd says. “I don’t go in for all the coffins and the ghouls and all that.”
She says it usually takes her a couple days to set up the nearly 100 pieces in her yard as well as the array of orange lights, which make it worth visiting her display at dusk.
And according to Rudd, passersby and neighbors take notice.
“People really enjoy it,” she says. “I’ve had people stop and ask if they can get pictures of their kids in the front yard.”
Rudd doesn’t limit her decorating talents to Halloween – she also sets up similar displays for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.
Just not March 17, she says. “I don’t get into St. Patrick’s,” Rudd says.
Ghouls for good
3819 Sheyenne St., West Fargo
Out on Sheyenne Street, Terry Stargardt takes a philanthropic approach to his Halloween decorations.
Among his many other decorations, Stargardt has a trailer set up in his driveway with “monster food drive” painted on a board.
After Halloween is over, he donates any food that’s collected to a local charity, he says.
Last year, just on word-of-mouth alone, Stargardt says he had several hundred kids come through for trick-or-treating, which meant a good response for his food drive as well.
And so far this season looks promising.
“This year we’ve already had people drop off food stuff,” he says.
Beyond the charity, Stargardt has a little bit of fun with his decorations, dressing up with his friends on Halloween night to give candy to trick-or-treaters.
“It’s just a matter of having fun doing it,” he says.
The living dead
3425 21st St. S., Fargo
After five or six years of decorating his house in West Virginia for Halloween, Todd West brought his interactive set with him when he recently moved to Fargo.
West set up a mock cemetery in his front yard, complete with tombstones and remote-controlled skeletons popping out of coffins.
West even has an actual hearse in his driveway for added effect – a genuine 1962 Bonneville hearse/ambulance combo that he says is the only car in the United States of its type.
On Halloween night, West says he and his friends plan to dress up as vampires and zombies to add to the frights. He’s quick to point out that it’s all in good humor.
“It’s not to scare little children but just to have fun,” he says. “There’s nothing gory about it. Halloween’s just all about fun.”
Little yard of horrors
918 1st St. S., Moorhead
The front yard of Karlene Paulson’s house might not be as spacious as some of the other houses on this list, but that doesn’t stop the Moorhead homeowner from making the most of it.
She’s so far set up a number of tombstones throughout her leaf-scattered lawn, and plans on rolling out more as Halloween gets closer.
Paulson guesses that she first started decorating her yard about 10 years ago, when she started with only a couple gravestones.
“We’ve added to it, one piece at a time,” she says.
Paulson also probably takes the award for strangest item in an area Halloween decoration: yes, that is actually a toilet in the back.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535