Imlay boasts popular haunts
|Kitty and Jeff Storey stop to chat with a passerby who was interested in the crashed hearse, one of the many interesting and creepy attractions at their home at the corner of Borland and Fairview in Imlay City. This is the 10th year the couple has decked out their home for perfect Halloween hauntings. photo by Catherine Minolli.|
October 28, 2009IMLAY CITY — Halloween's for kids—and for those who are kids at heart.
Just ask Bob Guerrero and his wife, Kathy. For the past few years the couple has transformed their home at the corner of Maple Vista Street and Borland Road into a haunted haven for Halloween lovers.
They do so out of a fondness for the holiday—and a way to stay in touch with their inner-trick-or-treaters.
"The kids are grown and too old to take out trick-or-treating," Bob says with a smile. "Now we stay home and dress up and pass out candy and have fun with the kids walking through here to get their treats."
Walking through the Guerrero's 'Haunted Valley Cemetery' takes some doing. Amid dozens of tombstones are scary sights—hands and feet rising from the earth—skulls and skeletons and spiders and webs.
On the porch, visitors are greeted by a goblin and his bride—whose dead bouquet of flowers isn't the only thing she scrimped on.
"The dress cost a dollar-fifty at Goodwill," Bob grins.
Haunting and hunting—bargain hunting, that is—go hand-in-hand, the couple says.
"Right after Halloween he'll be in the stores," Kathy says. "We're always looking for new stuff to add."
Like the "couple" in the swing at the edge of the 'cemetery lawn.' They're scarecrows, of sorts, that Bob put together for effect.
"My kids say 'Dad, why did you put them out there? They're not even scary,'" Bob laughs. "I say 'they're here watching over the cemetery.'"
The not-so-lively couple in the swing aren't the only ones who enjoy the Guerrero's 'cemetery.' Last year more than a thousand trick-or-treaters came through.
"A neighbor says she counted 1,200," Kathy says with a laugh. "We spend a lot on candy."
While the display is huge and scary enough in broad daylight, night effects add an especially spooky feel, Kathy says.
"There's strobe lights and spooky music," Kathy says. "So many people stop by to take a look or take pictures."
Another popular stop along the Halloween route is right up the street, at the corner of Borland and Fairview. The Storey household—long known for Jeff and Kitty's creative and spooky decorations—is in full creeped-out swing.
Along with the usual ghosts and goblins, passersby will see an old hearse "crashed" into a pole. A toxic waste dump, the grim reaper pushing a baby carriage and an organ player who's frightening enough to literally scare the pants off of--er--lower torso off of some poor soul on an operating table hooked up to an IV bag.
All of this in a banner decorating year for the Storeys. This is the 10th Halloween at their current location, continuing a tradition they years earlier began when they lived on Second Street.
"We've always been big fans of Halloween, but mostly we do it for the kids," Jeff says.
The "kids" include daughters Joette, Jinelle and Jessica and granddaughter McKenzie. On Halloween night, it's a family affair—everyone helps with the steady stream of trick-or-treaters, including niece Rachael Osbourn. This year, daughter Jessica designed a special commemorative t-shirt marking the family's decade of notorious haunting. Like Bob Guerrero, Jeff Storey keeps his eye out for spooky decorations all year long. Much of the creepy creations come from garage sales, flea markets and even eBay. But the real "eyecatcher" (the hearse) came from Jeff's own observation.
"I deliver milk and went to this gentleman's house—it was parked out back in a field by the fence row," Jeff says. "I questioned him about it and he said he wanted to get rid of it so I made him an offer and here it sits. It doesn't run, but it's a good prop."
Other "good props" can be found at the Boadway residence on Fourth Street. Residents Ramona and Richard Boadway have covered just about everything with all things Halloween.
They've lived at the home for 44 years, and have become known for their Halloween, Christmas and Easter decorations. Ramona says Richard does most of it now, as it's not so easy for her to move around any more. Richard says he has help just the same: their eight grandchildren.
"Each year there's something new I buy," Ramona chuckles. "Every year I've got to do something different, even if I pick up something at a garage sale. He (Richard) hollers about it but it doesn't do any good."
For his part, Richard says he doesn't mind putting the stuff up.
"The grandkids and I have a good time doing it," he says.
Halloween is this Saturday, October 31. For more photos of spooky scenes around town visit www.tricitytimes-online.com and click on the photo gallery.